Thyestes at The Malthouse Theatre

Get the latest from Beat

Thyestes at The Malthouse Theatre


Thyestes is the brutal tale of the King of Mycenae we review Malthouse’s version

Seneca’s Greek tragedy, Thyestes tells the brutal tale of the King of Mycenae who unknowingly ate the flesh of his children fed to him by his brother Atreus. In the Hayloft Project’s (3xSisters, Yuri Wells) Malthouse’s version, the myth is given a contemporary rock ‘n’ roll theatre makeover, but the result is no less harrowing and absorbing thanks to the ingenious touch of the solid young theatre group.

The production, showing as part of this year’s Melbourne Fringe Festival, was co-written by all three performers (Chris Ryan, Thomas Henning and Mark Leonard Winter) and director, Simon Stone, with Anne-Louise Sarks (winner of Adelaide Fringe Festival Award for Yuri Wells) as dramaturge.

It features a diverse soundtrack from baroque opera, to Mary J. Blige to the Wu-Tang Clan.The show kicks off with much humour, attributed to the colloquial nature of the script, which though carefully constructed breezes through like a chat between friends. At first, the fraternity between the brothers is strong; we see their closeness, the stereotypical sibling rivalry, before the play escalates to showcase the elements of Greek tragedy – murder, incest, vengeance, violence, and betrayal.

By taking these distinct elements of ancient epic tales into contemporary times, Thyestes explores and question whether these grotesque occurrences are still relevant in today’s world. True, the subject matter is confronting and controversial, and the actors make no compromises in displaying the disturbing nature of it (read: contains nudity and explicit sexual references), but Thyestes, with its flawless acting performances, produces the perfect example of how the monstrous can be framed within the beautiful. This intense, bold psychological thriller/drama will leave a mark on your psyche.

More info and session times