On Friday 22 March, I got the opportunity to see Orestes at the Silk Street Theatre. The memorable story, dynamic cast and incredible special effects made for an unforgettable experience.

Orestes tells the story of Orestes, a young man who is tormented by the immortal Furies after killing his mother Clytemnestra, out of revenge for her killing his father Agamemnon. Despite not having studied Orestes before, as it is not on our A Level syllabus, I was excited to see the production, alongside the countless other theatregoers that were attending. As such, I had very little idea as to what to expect. As it turns out, however, I had nothing to fear; instead, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

Before the play began, the stage floor was obscured in a dense smoke, lit only by the flickering light of a static-filled TV. The atmosphere was reminiscent of a horror scene - apt, considering the ruinous situation of Orestes, and the disastrous consequences that were due to follow. It wasn’t long before the lights came on, and Electra launched into the prologos, recounting the ‘story so far’ -  a staple technique used by Euripides in his plays. Electra’s soliloquy snagged the audience’s attention completely, and from that moment onward, everyone was hooked. Not only was the quality of the acting astounding, but the sheer gravity of the plot itself made sure that nobody was left looking anywhere but at the stage.

The chorus was haunting and captivating, even though it was made up of schoolgirls, rather than a more conventional group of people. However, this change did not detract from the play, and instead, the women perfectly portrayed the despair of Electra and Oedipus’ plight, and helped to further the plot. Arguably, the special effects stood out the most: from perfectly timed flashing lights, to bright crimson smoke and more - none of the stage effects failed to captivate the audience, who delighted in the attention to detail.

The highlight of the production was at the climax of the play. Orestes was a hair’s breadth away from slaughtering Hermione, with a desperate Menelaus at his feet, when, without warning, the backdrop of the stage shattered and crumbled down to reveal Apollo and Helen, framed by heavenly light. The scene was so exhilarating that the actors had to pause for a minute to wait for the audience to stop clapping and muttering excitedly amongst themselves. It was a truly a spectacle to behold.

Although the production added a flair of its own, and diverted from the source material at parts, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. Upon talking to my classmates, I discovered that they harboured the same sentiment: I was told that their favourite part was the destruction of the stage, and that they believed the special effects were “fantastic.” I would urge everyone, if given the opportunity, to attend a theatre production, as not only was it an enjoyable evening out, but I also got the opportunity to learn more widely outside of my curriculum, which is difficult at times to do.