Previewed 20 September 2014, Opened 1 October 2014, Closed 20 December 2014 at the Old Vic Theatre in London
A major revival of Sophocles' tradegy Electra in London starring Kristin Scott Thomas - presented 'in-the-round'.
Sophocles' classic drama of Electra and Orestes' revenge on their father's murderers is presented in a version by Frank McGuinness. The cast feature Kristin Scott Thomas as 'Electra' with Jack Lowden as 'Orestes', Diana Quick as 'Clytemnestra', Tyrone Huggins as 'Aegisthus', Liz White as 'Chrysothemis' and Peter Wight as 'Servant' with Julia Dearden, Golda Rosheuvel and Thalissa Teixeira. Casting subject to change without notice. Directed by Ian Rickson with choreography by Maxine Doyle, design by Mark Thompson, lighting by Neil Austin, music by PJ Harvey and sound by Simon Baker.
Kristin Scott Thomas' recent West End theatre credits include Ian Rickson's revivals of Harold Pinter's Old Times (2013) and Betrayal (Harold Pinter Theatre 2011) and Jonathan Kent's revival of Luigi Pirandello's As You Desire Me (Playhouse Theatre 2006).
When this production opened Paul Taylor in the Independent hailed it as being a "devastatingly brilliant production... an evening of unalloyed magnificence." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times highlighted that "Kristin Scott Thomas who, as the protagonist of Sophocles' play, has made herself the living embodiment of Frank McGuinness's 1997 translation." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard thought that "she brings passion and a fierce dynamism to the title role in Sophocles's meaty revenge tragedy" while Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph explained how her "tour de force performance in the gruelling role of Sophocles's grief-ridden Electra rewrites our understanding of her capabilities. We knew Scott Thomas, 54, was very good - increasingly so on stage.. Yet within 90 minutes or so, the erstwhile screen goddess propels herself into the first rank of theatrical titans... this is a kill-for-a-ticket triumph." Michael Billington in the Guardian explained that in "Frank McGuinness's excellent translation... Scott Thomas is always intensely watchable," adding that "although Electra dominates the play, Ian Rickson's production gives due weight to the other characters." Dominic Maxwell in the Times asked: "How do you make 100 minutes of anguished inactivity into a slow-burning tour-de-force? The answer, if you're Kristin Scott Thomas, is to take the amphitheatre-sized grief and rage of Sophocles's heroine and make them unnervingly intimate and real. The results are extraordinary, if not always propulsive... You will see other Electras with more fireworks, but this performance keeps slow-burning in your mind long after the fall of the final curtain." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail said it was a "splashy new production" and Neil Norman in the Daily Express said that "this is a modern-day interpretation in a translation by Frank McGuinness of a mind fractured by grief and Kristin Scott Thomas delivers a performance that is a long way from the epically tragic style of more traditional interpretations."
"If the most important thing any new production must do today is make Greek tragedy accessible and gripping, then the director Ian Rickson has succeeded admirably... Frank McGuinness's translation offers more clarity than poetry, dropping several mythological references that might confuse the listener... This isn't an Electra that attains the harrowing heights of tragic passion, or startles with a truly authentic production of this ancient masterpiece that grips us as if it were written yesterday. But it is lively and contemporary, a Greek tragedy that won't leave you baffled and bored." The Sunday Times
"Ian Rickson's direction is focused and compelling. The production has a strange, eerie atmosphere all of its own, which is helped along with a lot of stage fog, Neil Austin's lighting and PJ Harvey's edgy music... It is, however, Scott Thomas's performance that makes the eveing unforgettable, and will, I fancy, win it awards: it talks to all people who've known the misery of losing someone that they loved deeply. There is a painfully raw, human intensity to it... This is unquestionably the Old Vic at its very best." The Sunday Telegraph
"Don't come expecting to see a screen icon buffed and shined like an Oscar statuette. Kristin Scott Thomas' tormented Electra is a hard, lean creation with the gaunt, sharp features of a bird of prey watching as terrible violence is played out. She is terrifically terrifying as the daughter turned almost mad by her mother's murder of her father in this 2,000-year-old play by Sophocles." The Sunday Mirror
"Ian Rickson's spare, meticulous revival of Frank McGuinness's unembellished version unravels with admirable clarity... Scott Thomas's skeletal, hollow-eyed, ashen-skinned, obsessive Electra prowls the stage ranting and raving with hatred for her mother... It's a virtuosic performance but over-emphatic, with too much finger-running through hair, too much girlish springing about the stage. She got me in the end, though, when she embraced the corpse of her mother, Clytemnestra. Electra forgives her at last and loves her again. But only once all passion is spent is she a pitiable figure." The Mail on Sunday
Electra in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 20 September 2014, opened on 1 October 2014 and closed on 20 December 2014.