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West End opening for world premiere of new play by the author of Death and the Maiden – starring Rupert Graves A Man and a Woman – who are timeless versions of the mythical Jason and Medea – have entered purgatory: a soul-less white room. Each is interrogated in turn by the other. Each has to reach a state of forgiveness and contrition before they can leave purgatory and ‘move on’. In the course of all this the Medea ‘story’ is reprised – particularly from her point of view. An outstanding moment is when she recalls – with terrible reality – how she actually killed her children: including the horrifying decision as to which one to kill first (while the other looks on). Purgatory is like Sartre’s Huis Clos rewritten by Kafka. The whole play has a hypnotic, mesmeric, circular quality: the end links up to the beginning in a seamless round. It is a play brimming with ideas, blending myth with multifold literary references. There has been nothing as serious and ambitious on the London stage for years.
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