Jethro Compton's Frontier Trilogy: The Rattlesnake's Kiss
Morality play from the Old West
This article is from 2015.
Jethro Compton has a distinctive style: a cinematic use of flashbacks and music, the specially adapted space, the emphasis on scripts that respect theatre's potential for exploring big ideas. The Old West, with gunslingers, bandits, law men and preachers, is an excellent match. Like the classic cowboy films, The Rattlesnake's Kiss considers themes of personal responsibility and the space between justice and revenge.
Consisting primarily of a confrontation between a marshal and a priest, Rattlesnake ponders the difference between divine and human justice, the influence of family and the faint possibility of redemption. Unfolding its twists gradually, the script holds the big ideas in a sharp, serious set of conversations. Compton is a master of updating the ancient Greek technique of the agon, or argument, as the central feature. Aside from the the excitement of the confrontation, more abstract matters are considered from multiple perspectives.
Compton has deservedly developed a following at the Fringe, and this is another powerful example of his faith in direct, popular but intelligent drama.
C nova, 0845 260 1234, until 31 Aug, 10.30pm, £11.50–£13.50 (£7.50–£11.50).