In ancient Greek mythology, Iphigenia was the daughter of King Agememnon and Queen Clytemnestra, who was sacrificed to the gods to for a wind change which would allow the king to invade Troy. In the play ‘Ipghigenia in Splott’ in Smock Alley Theatre, Ipghgenia (Effie) is a hard boiled young woman in a hoodie, who terrorises her neighbours as she prowls the street of her estate. Hard drinking, tough-as-nails, she knows what people think of her. But she doesn’t care.
Until one night while out on the town with her steroid-enhanced boyfriend Kev, she meets Lee, a former soldier who carries scars from his service. Effie finally feels she is no longer alone. Except the consequences of that night has a catastrophic aftermath for her.
Written as a monologue by Gary Owen, the play was originally set in Wales, but for this Irish production, the action moves to Cork.
It is an astounding play that shifts gear throughout its 75 minutes, with the initial expectations shattered. Effie’s tough exterior giving way to excitement and hope, and ultimately to heartbreaking tragedy.
Rachel O’Connell gives a mesmerising performance as Effie, in this blistering work, which casts a cold, hard, light on how society’s most vulnerable people are treated as thrash. Her searing speech at the end of the play is a call to arms, that made me want to instantly buy a yellow vest. O’Connell needs to be richly awarded for this performance.
Directed by Tracy Ryan for Reality Check Productions, ‘Iphigenia in Splott’ runs in Smock Alley until Saturday 15th December.
I loved it. Highly recommended.