Electra: An American Gothic
Ancient Greek myth transferred to 1880s US by Slippery Rock Theatre for Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Pennsylvania’s Slippery Rock Theatre has been bringing nastily effective little tales of horror to the Fringe for several years now, and although this year’s offering tones things down a bit, there’s still the trademark fevered intensity that’s made previous shows so enjoyable.
Writer David Skeele excises Sophocles’ tale of bitter revenge from ancient Greece and sews it in among the warring families of 1880s post-civil war America, where Electra is a half-deranged daddy’s girl about to be shipped off to a secure institution, and Clytemnestra is a cold-as-ice matriarch intent on preventing the line of Agamemnon, the husband she murdered, from continuing.
The plotlines and backstory are all a bit complicated, and they’re described in a rather fullsome detail in a long opening exposition. But it’s the slow feeling of inexorable dread and unavoidable doom that gives the show its dark power, as plans go wrong and killings kick off yet more killings. Performances are variable but gratifyingly intense at their best, and Gordon Phetteplace’s direction handles the slow build-up of tension well. It’s a convincingly unsettling, darkly brooding show.
The Space @ Venue 45, 510 2381, until 9 Aug, 6pm, £7 (£5).