Modern ‘Medea’ stars Potter film’s Helen McCrory

Modern ‘Medea’ stars Potter film’s Helen McCrory

LONDON - Reuters
Modern ‘Medea’ stars Potter film’s Helen McCrory

Helen McCroy portrays Narcissa Malfoy in the final three Harry Potter films.

Helen McCrory of Harry Potter fame is a chain-smoking Medea and pop duo Goldfrapp provides a riveting score for a new staging in London of Euripides’s 2,500-year-old play that may not be the “Medea” of all time but is certainly one for this age.

The adaptation, which had its press night at Britain’s National Theater on July 21, sets the scene as the audience enters to see Medea’s two young, doomed sons lying in sleeping bags on stage, watching television under the watchful eye of their nurse.

McCrory, reprising in some ways her Narcissa Malfoy witch from the Potter films, but also deploying the charm of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie, whom she portrayed twice on screen, throws her all into the role of the spurned wife who gets revenge by killing her own children. McCrory, all winsomeness and guile one minute, and spitting poison the next, is hardly off stage for a minute of the 90-minute production, directed by Carrie Cracknell, whose staging of “Blurred Lines” about rape culture was a hit for the National last year.

The adaptation by the National associate director Ben Power updates the language to modern idiom but dispenses with some of the nuances of other versions.

Essentially this is a play about women driven to the extreme of what the text says only one woman has ever done before, which is to kill her own children.

In the end Medea overcomes her love for her children. The audience, though, gets a great 90 minutes of theater.