Thyestes Adelaide Festival 2018Adelaide Festival. The Hayloft Project/Belvoir. 4 Mar 2018


Ripping up the basic storyline of Seneca’s Thyestes and scrolling it in LED as the introduction to action and dialogue, scene to scene, is so far away from Ancient Greek (let alone a solid English translation). Yet, it has done more to unleash the fabled fire and fury of Ancient Greek theatre than one could possibly hope to experience in the 21st Century.


Director Simon Stone and literary collaborators Thomas Henning, Chris Ryan and Mark Winter’s evisceration of Seneca’s bloody tale of vengefulness, is a colossally mind bending theatrical achievement rendered in performance and design. It is transfigured with contemporary characterisations, language and a psychological impetus to power, lust, hate and revenge, floating on mystic prophecy.


Claude Marcos’ traverse set in white, with remote controlled curtains each side of the narrow stage, supremely accentuates the banality and terror stringing this tale together.

Stone’s cast of three - Thomas Henning, Chris Ryan and Toby Schmitz - play this fantastic new text with a supremely sophisticated, controlled sway from wondrously absurd comedy to stark deadliness, offering, scene by scene, an ever darkening view of the destructive relationship between Thyestes and Artreus; Royal brothers, exiles, competitors for power and surrender to obscene madness.

Freud let loose onstage.


The clinching mastery of the work’s construction is the scene count back, the missing links, the psychological triggers of savagery.


Thyestes is a grand, noble, powerful Australian work of extraordinary depth and genius.


David O’Brien


When: 2 to 7 March

Where: The Space Theatre


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