tue 23/05/2017

ancient Greece

Colm Tóibín: House of Names review - bleakly beautiful twilight of the gods

The news that Colm Tóibín has written a novel about Orestes, Clytemnestra, Electra and the whole accursed House of Atreus might prompt two instant responses. One could run: where does your man find the brass neck to compete with the titans of the...

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Medea, Bristol Old Vic - formulaic feminism lets Greek classic down

Greek tragedy provides an unending source of material for the stage: in no other theatrical form have the labyrinths of human nature been so deeply explored: the rich tapestry of archetypal family conflicts, driven by instincts that force helpless...

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Refugees and referendums: Ramin Gray on staging Aeschylus's The Suppliant Women

I’m sitting in a rehearsal room in Manchester preparing an Actors Touring Company’s new version of Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women, listening to a group of young women raise their voices in praise of “untameable Artemis”. She’s the goddess of...

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The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus, Finborough Theatre

When a leading fringe theatre starts the year with a production whose gender ratio is 8:1 in favour of men, it had better have a good reason. When seven of those eight are wearing prosthetic penises, it had better have a very good reason. And a plan...

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Best of 2016: Art

Before we consign this miserable year to history, there are a few good bits to be salvaged; in fact, for the visual arts 2016 has been marked by renewal and regeneration, with a clutch of newish museum directors getting into their stride, and...

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Sunday Book: Carlo Rovelli - Reality Is Not What It Seems

Scientists today tend to patronise the early Greek philosophers who, 2500 years ago, inaugurated enquiry into the nature of things. The Atomic Theory? A lucky guess, they allege. But Carlo Rovelli accords them, and especially Democritus, the key...

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Sunken Cities: Egypt's lost worlds rediscovered

In a gallery darkened to evoke the seabed that was its resting place for over a thousand years, the colossal figure of Hapy, the Egyptian god of the Nile flood, greets visitors just as it met sailors entering the busy trading port of Thonis-...

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Mary Beard's Ultimate Rome: Empire without Limit, BBC Two

The world of antiquity, from Greece to Rome, is both so familiar and so unknown. So it was more than welcome when the immensely knowledgable Professor Mary Beard – the role of the academic, she announced, is to make everything less simple –...

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Sicily: Culture and Conquest, British Museum

This exhibition – the UK's first major exploration of the history of Sicily – highlights two astonishing epochs in the cultural history of the island, with a small bridging section in between. Spanning 4,000 years and bringing together over 200...

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Medea, Almeida Theatre

With her strong, often fierce features and her convincing simulations of rage, Kate Fleetwood might have been born to play Medea. Unfortunately this isn’t Euripides’ Medea but Rachel Cusk’s free variations on the myth rather than the play. Many...

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Iliad: War Music, National Theatre Wales

Iliad is the third collaboration between National Theatre Wales and “the two Mikes”, directorial duo Pearson and Brookes. The pair have been responsible for two previous highlights of the still young company’s back catalogue, The Persians (2010) and...

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Llanelliad: Greeks bear gifts to Wales

The Trojan War has been going on for nine years when Homer's account begins in The Iliad. Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes have been developing their version of the story, using Christopher Logue's War Music, for nearly half as long. True, when they...

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