This is a play that was written in ancient Greek nearly 2,500 years ago. At that time it was a religious observance, and it presents the modern audience with questions that are still important to us. A number of plays by Sophocles survive, of which Antigone perhaps speaks particularly of our time.

This production was described on the cover of the programme (which usefully included the complete text of the play) as a contemporary version by Roy Williams. He has ingeniously adapted the original text in modern speech and behaviour. For instance, it was usual for a group of performers, identified as citizens of Thebes or something like that, known as the Chorus, to comment at length on the progress of the play: Williams adapts these comments as brief speeches by Soldier One, Soldier Two and Soldier Three. He anglicises the names of the characters, so that, for instance, the King of Thebes is Creo – does that mean any more to us than the original Creon? He is not a king but a nightclub owner. Mark Monero performed this role in a hectoring manner that was not ideal to express the dilemma with which Creo is faced by the heroine, Antigone, similarly renamed Tig.

Tig feels deeply that she must arrange the burial of her brother, who has been killled before the play begins: a priority that is still meaningful to us. Creo wishes to punish him by leaving the body exposed as food for the birds and beasts.

Naturally, the success of any production of this play depends on Antigone/Tig; Savannah Gordon-Liburd spoke clearly and her performance forcefully conveyed the emotion of her dilemma. Creo wins by subjecting her to a prolonged and lonely death; but then realises the enormity of what he has done, for classic tragedy, after the disaster, sounds a note of hope. Shakespeare, 2,000 years later, usually did the same. Today we are more aware of Shakespeare than of Sophocles, and this exciting production vividly compared the tragic concepts of two such widely separated writers.