#4 Antigone Alone

Theatre ( Solo ) The Dukebox, Sweet Dukebox

A one-woman play based on the Greek legendarium, with Joanna Lucas as Antigone, daughter of Oedipus. Antigone is the sister to a pair of brothers, Polynices and Eteocles, who have recently slain one another in battle, leaving the throne of Thebes to Antigone's uncle Creon.

The original story presents the defiant fate of Antigone in the aftermath of battle, but can't resist telling an abridged one of Oedipus as well. Lucas throws herself into all of the roles, and perhaps a bit too much, as her over-the-top expressions and voice modulations struggle to represent the whole cast. The narration doesn't let up once, drowning the show in enunciation.

The dynamic lighting is winning, but at no point do we ever really arrive in Thebes; not the kingly courts, not the desolate desert where her beloved brother lies unburied by decree. Lucas' nose, burnt in the rare Brighton sun, did add a charming authenticity to the heat of the zenith noon. Minimal staging, as always, draws the full attention on the acting.

The pacing is off and the play drags forward, and yet the story feels jam-packed and larger than its allotted hour. The delivery feels rushed. The solo show covers up missing action with enthusiastic exposition and bland facialism. Lucas' Antigone comes off more foolish and tiresome than brave and defiant. There's a frailty and emotionality there that feels somewhat misplaced with a powerful maiden of ancient Greece. Antigone would do well to show more and share less.

Antigone Alone is a demanding solo show, and gives Lucas an opportunity to show off her versatility. The play's connection to present day unfortunately is left as an exercise to the reader. Antigone Alone doesn't feel that timely or necessary, and doesn't really entertain either. These classic stories have been told better elsewhere.

While the ambitious staging is commendable and Lucas' performance is at times enjoyable, this one-hander is problematic. Only for those who need a quick refresher on Oedipus' family tragedies.