Troilus and Cressida (2008): Cheek By Jowl
PrTroilus and Cressida (2008)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Anthony Mark Barrow (Agamemnon); Paul Brennan (Achilles); Lucy Briggs-Owen (Cressida); Richard Cant (Thersites); David Caves (Hector); David Collings (Pandarus); Damian Kearney (Nestor); Ryan Kiggell (Ulysses); Alex Waldmann (Troilus).
This production toured internationally from 12 March - 26 July 2008, playing in France, the Netherlands, Romania, London and Madrid.
"...the audience sits on either side of a long, narrow stage about two-thirds the size of a singles tennis court. And for much of the three-hour-plus evening, it feels not unlike watching a tennis match, but one in which the players are only allowed to stand either at the baseline or the net....In this staging, the main plot is devoid of amorous tension in either the winning or losing. Likewise, nothing feels at stake in the war or in the Greek factionalism." ~ Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times, 30 May 2008
"On the Barbican's reconfigured stage, the traverse set (designed by Nick Ormerod) is a long strip of khaki canvas. It suggests a sandy battlefield but also functions as a parade, almost a catwalk. Troy's warriors return from their daily conflicts waving proudly to the sound of roaring crowds. They are really soldiers-cum-sporting hearoes in their butch vests, training shoes and what look like cricket pads refashioned by Darth Vader (not wholly convincing)." ~ Kate Bassett, "Lovers blown apart by the fickle winds of war", Independent on Sunday, 1 June 2008
"Declan Donnellan's Cheek by Jowl production doesn't smooth things over: it's not a narrative triumph but an evening of unforgettable moments and flamboyant touches. Thersites is a drag queen, first seen sporting Marigolds, later in a frou-frou white frock; Patroclus comes on doing t'ai chi; in a haunting episode, Greeks and Trojans dance together, slumping towards their partners in a wan waltz." ~ Susannah Clapp, "Put on some weight, please", The Observer, 1 June 2008
"Designer Nick Ormerod establishes a traverse stage, at either end of which are furled curtain-like gold/brown banners. These inadequate, ceremonial images convey no vivid sense of war or of Troy besieged by the Greeks for seven years...Richard Cant's extraordinary transvestite Thersites is not so much the conventional, snarling chorus figure, with a disapproving eye cocked on the world's immorality, as the cleaning lady of Paul Brennan's shaven-headed, insipid Achilles, who together with David Ononokpono's muscular, effeminate Patroclus, looks dressed as if for a gay fetish club." ~ Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard, 29 May 2008, in Theatre Record 2008, Issue 11