I attended the opening night of Queensland Theatre's final play for season 2019. Antigone, pronounced An- tig- uh- nEE, is currently blowing audiences away at Billie Brown Theatre in South Brisbane until the 16th of November. Directed by Travis Dowling, this lyrical adaption by Merlynn Tong of Sophocles' Greek tragedy, is not to be missed.
Antigone (Jessica Tovey) is the sister of two brothers who began, battled and perished in a civil war that tore apart the once-great city of Thebes. Eteocles died a hero but Polynices evermore the disgraced traitor. Creon (Christen O'Leary), the new leader in power has condemned the treacherous brother to eternal unrest. The career politician ruled Polynices is to rot unburied and never to receive a mere kind uttering even in prayer. Grieving Antigone challenges Creon for her human right to mourn her brother and to abide by the divine law requiring that the dead be put to rest with proper burial rituals. A rebellious act ignites a series of events that ultimately cost Creon so much more than her pride.
Essentially this is a story about a young woman standing up for what she believes in against a system that thinks it knows better. We only need to switch on the news today to see that this story written in 441BC could have been written in the here and now since nothing much has changed.
Shubshri Kandiah is Ismene, what a voice! After seeing her in this production, I was not surprised to learn that her credits include Princess Jasmin - Aladdin The Musical and Opera Queensland. She played Ismene beautifully; her voice soothed the angst of this dark story. Christen O'Leary has in the last couple of years become one of my favourite actors. My theory is she gets possed by characters instead of portraying them. No one could have been a better Creon. Jessica Tovey (Home & Away, Wolf Creek, Underbelly) plays lead Antigone. Tovey is one of those actors that you know are just going to nail it, and she did. You bleed with her from beginning to end. Kevin Spink, who played Haemon was also quite good.
The music in this production is amazing it moved the story along and brought an extra layer of emotion. The lighting and effects also were outstanding. It is certainly not an easy story to tell visually and the production team on this produced miracles
This is the last show of the season and as always Queensland Theatre has not failed us. Make sure you don't miss it - book now!
Season 2020 is set to be another fantastic journey. I for one can not wait. As this season ends I would like to send out a huge thank you to Sam Strong (Artistic Director) for all the stories and feels. Sam has been an incredible leader for Queensland Theatre and frankly a sure bet for audiences. Although this was his final season, we are bound to witness more of his genius in the future.