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Brisbane review - Medea : An  Exciting Innovation for Queensland Theatre

By Lilian Harrington


Production: Medea

Company: Queensland Theatre

Director: Daniel Evans

Location: Billie Brown Theatre 78 Montague Rd South Brisbane

Season: May 11 -June 8.  

What an exciting innovation by Queensland Theatre to have a rewritten version of the Medea, with children starring in the lead roles!  The current production of Medea has put a creative twist on this mythological Euripidean classic.  The traditional play tells the story of the skilled sorceress Medea, from Colchis, who  married  the  Greek  soldier , Jason of the Argonauts , who had come seeking  the Golden fleece, which was thought to have magical properties . Medea, a sorceress, eloped with Jason, and had borne him two sons. The sons voices were not heard in the original classic, but writers Kate Mulvany and Anne- Louise Sarks have written an adaptation which  takes  a different  perspective, that  of Medea’s two young sons  and locates the scene in a modern bedroom setting.

This adaptation  of  Medea  uses  the voices of the two sons, trapped in their bedroom, to give a more meaningful  approach to a sad and difficult family situation. It also allows  for  humour , banter, candid comment and captivating games played. It also depicts a mother’s love and heartache, but it stresses the lengths that she will go to, take her revenge on Jason.

It is through the boy’s dialogue that we hear of Jason’s new fiancé and what the father is planning for them. Medea is in despair at losing Jason, and possibly her sons too. She is a cunning sorceress, so she plans to take revenge. Firstly, by  sending  Jason’s fiancé , Glauce, ( daughter to  King Creon), a poisonous robe,  a gift from the boys. Further, she intends to inflict further pain on Jason and take the lives of their two sons.

The leads are  played  by  four  young  actors,  who alternate their roles through the season. Leon was played by thirteen year old, Orlando Dunn- Mura, and Jasper was played by ten year old, Felix Pearn.   Medea ,  was played by Helen Cassidy.

It is remarkable what Director Dan Evans and his team of creatives have achieved with this production which runs for over seventy minutes, with no interval. The boys, in particular, Jasper, 10 years,  ( Felix  Pearn), have a huge acting commitment  in the act both with dialogue and onstage action. It is through Jasper’s  antics and his interaction with his older  brother , Leon (12 years) Orlando Dunn- Mura, that they create a very genuine scenario  in the  boy’s bedroom. They fight, play games, show some consideration at times, and explain  how much their parents mean to them ,    especially their father. The two  young  actors  showed  a good contrast in approach and style and they had a good energy and flow, which was admirable.  In contrast Medea (Helen Cassidy) had a grounding effect on her two young sons;  she  provided not only direction and movement in the play, but she sent a strong,  message, as a shady indicator to the audience, of what was  instore.

 The set was designed by Chloe  Greaves . It is built like a fish tank and the boys can be seen  and  heard  paralleled  to the fish in their  aquarium, in that they are trapped.   Matt  Scott  created  magical  lighting effects, and Mike Willmett, provided  atmospheric  music which was played a little too loud at times. Audience appeared impressed with the unique design of the show which complimented the action. This play is cleverly conceived and an exciting innovation for Queensland Theatre.




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