ANTIGONE | Chester, Storyhouse

This new production by poet Hollie McNish, directed by Natasha Rickman in co-production with Triple C. at Chester’s Storyhouse, adapts Sophocles’ ancient Greek tragedy with grace, generosity and a few fiery twists.

It’s not an easy task to distil Sophocles’ genius (as well as language, culture and values) into modern English. But McNish’s script is vibrant, fluid and visceral, brought to life all the more effectively by a hybrid performance featuring spoken word, creative captioning, and BSL integrated acting. It’s like a multi-layered poetry slam, with a plot.

The titular character, played by Fatima Niemogha, is the perfect combination of charisma, high ideals and humanity. When she chooses to bury her brother Polynices to obey the law of the gods, but going deliberately against the orders of her uncle King Kreon (with tragic consequences), she breathes new life into the timeless question: when does the rule of one’s own heart override the rule of law?

Starting off in the café area with a comic-esque flash introduction to Ancient Greece, continuing with a tongue-in-cheek prologue in the main theatre – in-keeping with the joviality of ancient theatre festivals – one has to wait for the real tragedy to kick in.

Playing 13 – 23 October 2021 at Storyhouse.