Trojan Barbie: Clayesmore gets there first again

The school’s production of Trojan Barbie gives a flavour of Troy ahead of the BBC/Netflix production due out next month.

Trojan Barbie takes a rather different view of the fall of the city of Troy, don’t expect any glorification. Focussing on the period after the fall of Troy it serves as an illustration of the consequences of war then and now. In keeping with the media’s current focus on the unfair treatment of women the focus of the play is the women who survive war. The play doesn’t just resemble events in Troy and recent reports from the Middle East but recalls the aftermath of every war in recorded history.

The setting is a women only POW camp housing the surviving members House of Troy’s royal family. Poor Hecuba, brilliantly portrayed by Shannon, has lost everything and is sinking into an abyss of madness and despair. Her husband and sons dead, her daughters lost to the soldiers – Hetty and Rosie do a great job as the disturbed Cassandra and hopeful Polly X – and her surviving grandchild brutally murdered.

Into this chaos of ancient times and bringing it into focus today, Lotte (Louise), a ditsy dollmaker, is flung. She is a very English tourist from Reading, and is truly out of her comfort zone but muddles through. She bumps into all sides of the story from the haughty Helen (Jess) to the cynical soldiers (Callum and Ben, in particular). There is, amid the awfulness, a curious humour in her response and very English insistence on contacting the Embassy!

The play is brilliantly staged and sympathetically performed. The story reminds us that the past informs the present, and from generation to generation we forget that war is hell for all concerned.

Congratulations to everyone for a complex production with difficult themes expertly delivered.