Review: Medea by Seneca, University of Adelaide Theatre Guild

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Look, there is a bottle of Veuve Clicquot.

📍: Little Theatre, The Cloisters, University of Adelaide

It’s not very often that we engage with the classics. Greek mythology and literature can be hard to access for the general population more so inclined to participate in a Buzzfeed quiz binge. Yes, it takes a lot more dedication to work out the antagonist and the plot and perhaps, sometimes, the performers will use pronouns like “Thou” instead of “u”.

Put these preconceived notions and worries aside, you might be surprised to find the performances put on by the Theatre Guild are easy to follow and thoroughly enjoyable. The performers are students, just like you and I.

Translated and directed by philosphy student, Alex Antoniou, the Theatre Guild‘s adaptation of Medea was, simply put, bloody unforgettable. A modern interpretation of a classic Greek tragedy that was so modern, it included a notable cast member wearing a Camilla gown during a wedding scene and a freshly opened bottle of Veuve Clicquot used as a stage prop.

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Melanie Archer playing the lead role of Medea.

The stage set up was minimal, perhaps something do with a student run budget, but the cast members were full of life, conviction and an admirable sense of determination. Honourable mentions must go to Melanie Archer whose Medea was like shock value. Her costume and initial presence was perceived to be meek and mild mannered, but through her dialogue, this thought was thrown out the window as her character continued to release the pent up frustrations throughout the play’s progress. Archer’s perfromance was powerful, persuasive and inherently feminist.

The nurse, played by Eilish Devilin, was a wonderful support role for Medea and in some ways, helped Archer shine. This was particularly noticable in the second part of the play where the plot thickens and the nurse assists Medea in the making of some very tough decisions. The minor roles were on hand to offer brief moments of comic relief, which was well received in what is mostly a heartbreaking script.

Medea by Seneca performed by the University of Adelaide Theatre Guild in association with the department of Classics, Archaeology and Ancient History is a spectacular display of student innovation and initiative. It takes a unique group of students to make a difficult to understand play easy to understand and very pleasant to follow. The cast are to be commended on their efforts to bringing this Greek tragedy to life.

University of Adelaide Theatre Guild presents a student production of Seneca’s Medea. There is one more performance left on the 7th April.
Tickets are available through More info on the event can be found here.

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