A retelling of Sophocles' epic story from Inua Ellams ('Barber Shop Chronicles').
A heroic brother. A misguided son. A torn family in a hostile state. One sister is conflicted, while the other is on the run.
Although Ancient Thebes has survived a civil war, it has come at a cost. Following a bloody battle for the throne, Creon declares himself king and orders that the body of Polyneices must be left unburied. Anyone who defies this order will be killed. Antigone is resolute that she will bury her brother, Polyneices, even if it may result in her own death.
Max Webster directs this adaptation that rounds off Regent's Park Open Air Theatre's 2022 season.
"The production seems unique in how it depicts Islam: it is most contemplative in moments of spiritual ritual, ablution and prayer spoken in Quranic Arabic, which show Islam to be first and foremost a faith – and a beautiful one – over a system of politics or symbol of identity."
"An update as ambitious as this would have a chance of working if it possessed some measure of plausibility: unlike figures from mythology, modern characters need a hinterland. Sadly, there’s no depth or nuance."
"The play balances order against chaos and the individual against the state...It’s a shame, then, when the rhetoric devolves into bald-faced placard-waving, no matter how laudable the sentiments expressed."
"There is something refreshing about seeing these issues - the human consequence of inhumane policies - tackled on stage in such a direct way as well as seeing Muslim prayer and ritual presented with reverence and care."
"This is a particularly dark offering for a theatre that has historically offered more pastoral fare. Programme diversification is, of course, a good thing but this production probably isn't likely to be one of most visitors' most cherished memories of this wonderful venue."