The tunnel entrance at the Victoria & Albert Museum is one of the more unusual spaces in which I have seen theatre performed. The section of tunnel branching off the main subway from South Kensington and leading into the Museum has been transformed into the Colepit Theatre, hosting the first production from Antic Face, which is Euripides’ Hippolytos.
And an excellent debut it is. Performed by only four actors, the play tells the story of Hippolytos, son of Theseus, who rejects the goddess of love Aphrodite in favour of the chaste huntress Artemis. An angered Aphrodite puts a spell on Theseus’ wife Phaedra to ensure she falls in love with Hippolytos, leading to a chain of events resulting in tragedy for all concerned.
The performances were superb, with David Shields an excellent Hippolytos and Emma Amos and Martin McGlade providing strong support. I particularly liked Emma Hall, who exuded confidence and charm as Aphrodite and also managed to perform as a convincing Phaedra and Artemis. All the actors took on minor bit-part roles as well as their chief ones: it was hard to take in that there were only four of them.
Greek drama can sometimes feel remote, but the intimacy of this production, directed by Charlie Parham, and the power of the performances meant that the play was genuinely affecting. An excellent first production from Antic Face.