The Rival Queens
By Nathaniel Lee
Adapted for I'm a Camera by Dan Rebellato
Union Theatre, Southwark
Unstaged for over 100 years, The Rival Queens is set in ancient Babylon, and the court of Alexander the Great in the days leading up to his death. Alexander's ex wife Roxanna battles with current wife Statira, and a murder is plotted against the king.
‘The most audacious revival in recent months was Janey Clarke's The Rival Queens… a bold choice, suggested by Fiona Shaw. Stripped of its scenic grandeur and performed in the round, this revival has done the play a world of good. Clarke and company should be credited with challenging theatrical prejudices.'
Michael Caines, Times Literary Supplement
‘An act of valiant daring is being committed. I'm a Camera, a company resuscitating neglected plays, has come up with a genuine 17th century curio. The Rival Queens belongs to the little-known genre of heroic Restoration drama. Janey Clarke's vigorous production, staged in the round and using a text adapted by a bright young academic serves notice of Lee's enduring interest value.'
Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard
‘I'm a Camera's attentive, slick and pacey production is staged in the round. Making superlative use of the Union space, Janey Clarke's production mixes choreographed stage fighting with intense verbal exchanges… But it is the bitter and believable menace spat out by Roxanna and Statira that fixes our attention. Their performances expertly express why they seek Alexander's affections… If there is a reason for staging this play in the twenty-first century, it is the same as for Euripides' Medea: to scrutinize extreme emotions and obsession.'
Mark Espiner, Time Out
Craig Giovanelli's Alexander is mocking, worthy of his reputation, in thrall with his own mythology, and quite unaware of the in fighting around him… Janey Clarke's vividly staged production cleverly keeps him distant from the action, emphasizing his unexpected tender emotional relationships rather than his political ones. (The actors) impressively present the triumph of blind feeling over rational argument that drives a person to revenge.'
Claire Alfree, Metro
‘Fiona Shaw suggested this play was ripe for a revival and certainly a drama based on female jealousy toppling the greatest of men is as relevant as ever. To add to the appeal director Janey Clarke valiantly rises to the task by opting for a shortened text and an effective, laid bare style of acting that engages the audience with long looks and impassioned words… it is undeniably well cast, also.'
Barbara Lewis, The Stage
Back to Past Productions