Herald Young Critics

Eugene Onegin

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Rachel Lewis

five stars

TCHAIKOVSKY’S Eugene Onegin is a lyrical opera based on a poem by Alexander Pushkin. Performed by Komische Oper Berlin and directed by Barrie Kosky it is a beautiful portrayal of the story of Eugene Onegin, a selfish hero who lives to regret past actions, namely the killing of his best friend, Lensky, and his ruthless rejection of a young women’s love.

It’s almost a full house and there is an air of expectancy in the theatre as the orchestra warms up, a reminder that this is high art, the ‘real’ thing. Then the curtain rises and hush falls as brightly lit rural a setting is revealed.

The image is ironic for there is some brilliant comedy from the incomparable Margarita Nekrasova, whose performance as the worldly-wise nanny, Filipyevna, acts as a foil to the intensely love stricken Tatyana. Arguably, these two are the real stars of the piece, though Oleksiy Palchykov’s singing of Lensky’s moving aria gives both a run for their money.

Best of all, was Tatyana’s heart-breaking aria, performed beautifully by Asmik Grigorian and telling of her longing for Onegin. It was deeply moving performance and stood in a class of its own. Her voice cut straight to the heart as did her transition from the insecure and love-stuck girl, to confident and self-assured woman who in the end rejected Onegin’s love and instead remained loyal to her husband.

Hers was an emotional journey for cast and audience alike.

*Rachel Lewis is a pupil at Tynecastle High School and this review was submitted as part of The Herald Young Critics project with the Edinburgh International Festival.

Herald Young Critics


King’s Theatre, Edinburgh

Thomas Nightingale

five stars

ROBERT Icke’s Oedipus is a brilliantly gripping modernisation of the Greek tale. From start to finish, this masterpiece will have you on the edge of your seat. Every word, every prolonged silence, every pause, is beautiful.

We follow the story of Oedipus, who has latterly finished an election campaign. The blind prophet Teiresias (Hugo Koolschijn) conveys a disturbing prophecy to Oedipus involving a riddle which baffles Oedipus, causing fury and controversy among his family.

The tension between the characters in this play creeps up and almost strangles you. Every moment we are invested in each character’s thoughts and feelings. We feel for the characters and what troubles and stress they’re going through.

Hans Kesting portrays an excellent Oedipus, complimented by an impressive chemistry with Marieke Heebink as Jocasta. The relationship feels authentic due to the commendable performances by Kesting and Heebink.

Sound designer Tom Gibbons deserves an unbelievable amount of credit in this production. His fine work is instrumental to the quality of the play. Every piece of music was perfection, and sends chills up the spines of those in attendance.

The combination of Icke’s direction, the spectacular performance by the cast and the stupendous work by the production make Oedipus a gargantuan success. The production is faultless, and most will struggle to not be deeply affected emotionally by this work of art. Some would even be left speechless.

*Thomas Nightingale is a pupil at The Royal High School and this review was submitted as part of The Herald Young Critics project with the Edinburgh International Festival.