Seduction, suicide, and sadism: based on a Greek tragedy,
Phaedra’s Love has been updated to depict a disturbingly
dysfunctional family. Phaedra becomes obsessed by her desire for
her stepson Hippolytus who is a selfish, unfeeling lothario and
the exboyfriend of Phaedra’s daughter. Phaedra’s Love does possess Sarah Kane’s
“trademark ultra-violence” with the play starting as an
uncomfortably intimate drama and moving through incest, rape,
imprisonment and rebellion, to a bloodbath resulting in the death
and destruction of a Greek royal family. However, the director
believes Phaedra’s Love to be Kane’s “most
accessible play” though some areas regarding sexual acts and
mutilation seem uncomfortably drawn out. As disturbing as
Phaedra’s Love is at points, it is well-directed by Lucy
Burns. The destructive mood is conveyed well by a set which has
waste emerging from wounds in the black walls. The acting is of high quality. Hippolytus is well acted by
Philip Contos, who makes himself hateful in his selfish boredom.
Matthew Trueman and Kate Donald deliver strong performances, and
Valentina Ceschi portrays Phaedra’s varying moods and
emotions powerfully. Worth seeing, this psychological roller coaster will send you
reeling. Be warned, it is not for the faint of stomach, and if
you plan to sit near the front, wear clothes you do not mind
staining with the remains of the dead.ARCHIVE: 3rd week TT 2004