EdFringe 2019 Review: Bitch, Antigone

Bitch, Antigone
Rating: ★★★
Venue: theSpace on the Mile

Sophocles’ Greek tragedy Antigone gets a gloriously bitchy update from Australian  company Outcast Theatre. Matthew Roberts, Scott Middleton and Steven Dawson star as the three waspish queens at the heart of the production.

Desperate to win the acclaim of the Dionysian Drama Festival, three actors must overcome stage fright, personal embittered feuds and theatrical lethargy to deliver a rousing performance of the tragic play Antigone. Part catastrophic retelling of Sophocles’ work, part backstage soap opera, Bitch, Antigone is a true venomous delight.

Opening with a depressed Mynniscus (Dawson) lip-syncing to Dusty Springfield’s I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself, we are given a taste of the high camp proceedings that are about to unfold. His co-stars soon join the stage diving into quick-witted, fast-paced dialogue soaked in gleefully catty bitchery. Roberts, Middleton and Dawson are delightfully absorbing performers with the audience hanging on to every piece of dialogue they utter, afraid to miss one quick-fire put down or cheekily filthy innuendo. The backstage drama and seething wit these performers throw at each other is a massive part of the unique appeal of Bitch, Antigone.

As we know theatre should broaden our horizons, culture and educate and enrich us and Bitch, Antigone does so in the most delightful way. Outcast Theatre does gleefully present the story of Antigone within this production, and delights in allowing Roberts, Middleton and Dawson to infuse this tragedy with a euphoric sense of camp. The rickety structure of the staging, the shining kitsch gold of the costumes, and the sliding cheap wigs add to the intentionally-ramshackle appeal of this production which cites itself as a “classical piece of shit.”

Off-kilter line readings (“We are but women” becomes “We are butt women”), barrages of innuendo (“They have come upon the body”), high camp performances (Antigone’s Paris Hilton-inspired sister Ismene) and lip-syncing to camp pop numbers (Streisand’s People or Diana and Marvin's Ain’t No Mountain High Enough) help assert Bitch, Antigone as delightfully bad taste, yet tremendous fun. The beating heart of the production is the sublime, mesmerising and side-splitting turns from our trio of actors. Delivering each line of acerbic wit with the utmost confidence and silliness makes Bitch, Antigone feel like a boxing match where punches are traded for the most humorously cutting put-downs.

Bitch, Antigone
is a delight – high brow theatre performed in a delightfully tasteless low-brow fashion.
Theatre Review 4088211573726351136
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