This Restless House: Parts 2 and 3
- Lorna Irvine
- 5 May 2016
Zinnie Harris' follows up her reimagining of The Oresteia with two strong dramas
It is in the second part, titled The Bough Breaks where the whole house feels infected. The surviving daughter, Electra (an overwrought, yet compelling Olivia Morgan) is dealing with the fall-out from her father's death, and is scratching away at imaginary sores, while her mother Clytemnestra's paranoia threatens to engulf everyone she comes into contact with. Keith Fleming as her brutish new husband Aegisthus is more sparring partner than loved one, and tries to keep her paranoia in check, while battling against Electra for Clytemnestra's attention.
Colin Richmond's design really comes into its own here. A swing, dead centre of the stage becomes the symbol of innocence lost. Trees appear, representing the feeling of being lost in the woods.
And Electra's long-lost brother Orestes (Lorn MacDonald) is locked in a battle of wills with his sister, whose yellow dress looks childishly out-of-place in this battleground. The ending is a ghostly testimony to the Citizens' postmodern snapshot of a family undone.
But if the former feels spectral, Electra and Her Shadow (the final part) is completely unhinged. The jaunty chorus drunks are brought in again, jarring with the story of how Electra now resides with her demons in a mental hospital. Songs only add to the undercurrent of menace, where Audrey (a wonderful Anita Vettesse) a health worker who is looking after Electra, has her own issues to contend with- not least the fear of opening windows and letting in ghosts.
Harris' final part may be the least coherent of the trilogy, but the point of legacies which damage everything else that follows is a strong statement of intent, and a bold and audacious risk which more than pays off.
The Bough Breaks ●●●
Electra and Her Shadow ●●●
Read our review of This Restless House: Part 1
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 14 May.