Tragedy with a modern-day twist
GREEK tragedy written in 441BC has been updated with modern language and set in the world of rival gangs and nightclubs, starring Mark Monero (Steve Elliot in EastEnders) as the menacing, pitiless King Creon.
Antigone is coming to Watford Palace Theatre from Tuesday, November 4 to Saturday, November 8 at 7.30pm, and 2.30pm on Thursday and Saturday.
Following a civil war, Creon, the new ruler of Thebes, refuses to bury the unruly Polyneices with full military honours and orders his body to be left to the crows and worms instead.
Antigone, Polyneices’ headstrong and
Arebellious sister, defies Creon and buries her brother in secret, only to be condemned by Creon to the torture of being buried alive.
Tragedy inevitably follows in Sophocles’ exploration of the universal themes of pride, loyalty, truth, grief and love, but not in the way Creon imagines.
Contains some strong language. Not suitable for under-14s.
There will be a post-show Q&A on Wednesday, November 5. Tickets from £10 to £22.50. Visit www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk or call 01923 225 671.
NHIS death bed, celebrated landscape painter and watercolourist Joseph Mallord William Turner, who was a divisive figure in the 19th-century art world, reportedly lamented: “So I am to become a non-entity.”
Mike Leigh’s impeccably crafted biopic, which concentrates on the final 25 years of the artist’s career, ensures the genius of Turner lives on.
Anchored by a magnificent central performance by Timothy Spall, Mr Turner is another glorious ensemble piece from the writer-director of Topsy-Turvy and Vera Drake.
Developed through improvisational workshops – the trademark of Leigh’s film-making process – the script melds historical fact with personal interpretation to burrow deep beneath the surface of the characters and expose the desires and fears that drove some to greatness and others to despair.
When it comes to greatness, Spall’s embodiment of an artist with few social graces and a surplus of talent is the stuff that Oscars were made of.
The London-born actor spent two years learning how to paint like Turner so he could convincingly hold a brush and palette in front of the camera, allowing Leigh to capture visceral scenes of artistic creativity in full flow.
Mr Turner opens with the breathtaking image of the artist capturing the sun rising over fields in Belgium. He returns to London and the home he shares with his father, William (Paul Jesson), and housekeeper, Hannah Danby (Dorothy Atkinson).
The relationship between the two men is sketched in exquisite, heart-warming detail in these early scenes, with Turner warmly embracing his ‘daddy’.
Turner channels his energy into his work, which continues to raise eyebrows at the Royal Academy of Arts.
“The universe is chaotic and you make us see it,” observes Turner’s good friend Mary Somerville (Lesley Manville).
During excursions to Margate, Turner meets Mrs Booth (Marion Bailey) and her husband ( Karl Johnson) and rents a room from the couple so he can paint seascapes by the morning light.
The burgeoning relationship between the artist and Mrs Booth sweetens the bitter pill of his father’s death and Turner continues to clash with the artistic establishment, represented here by Sir John Soane (Nicholas Jones) and his coterie.
Mr Turner is a glorious period piece that offers us a glimpse behind the canvasses of a misunderstood maverick, who notes at one point: “When I peruse myself in a looking glass, I see a gargoyle.”
Spall is imperious and Leigh surrounds his lead man with an impeccable supporting cast of familiar faces, including Jesson as an honest, hard-working man of the world who believed ‘the rain falls, the sun shines and the onions grow’ and Atkinson as the housekeeper who allows Turner to use her to sate his sexual desires.
The 150 minutes pass too quickly, but the ravishing costumes and period detail hold our attention, as does as a haunting orchestral score by composer Gary Yershon.
Very nearly a masterpiece.
Former EastEnders actor Mark Monero plays Creon in Antigone