Arts Reviews

Lysistrata @ Lakeside Arts

The sixth collaboration between Lakeside Arts and Nottingham New Theatre presents a hilarious take on Alan Sommerstein’s translation of Lysistrata. The play incorporated singing, dancing, water pistols and even plastic penises, that kept the audience laughing from start to finish.

Five years ago, Lakeside Arts and Nottingham New Theatre began their collaborative project, allowing University drama enthusiasts to work with Lakeside Arts’ professional team to create an annual production, and Lysistrata was their first production. This year, director Martin Berry decided to recreate this famous Greek comedy.

To give a synopsis, Lysistrata is a play written by Ancient Greek poet Aristophanes, who used the twenty-seven year war between Athens and Sparta as the central premise for his play. Lysistrata, the play’s protagonist, gathers together all the women, from both Sparta and Athens, convincing them to withhold from sex in order to put a stop to the war.

“Costume complimented the set, all the outfits having a very grungey 90s feel”

The stage design was elaborate and tasteful, designed by Nottingham Trent University students, who created the perfect mix of ancient and modern that this production needed. Pillars covered in graffiti and the name of an ancient nightclub ‘Acropolis’ in a purple neon sign, to name a few design intricacies. Costume complimented the set, all the outfits having a very grungey 90s feel to them, whilst the make-up and hair was super dramatic and daring.

Lois Baglin bagged the part as Lysistrata (pardon the pun) and did an excellent job. She stole the stage from the outset, prancing round, singing and dancing, almost like a young Avril Lavigne, being entirely unafraid of embracing the confident character that Lysistrata embodies. The musical element of the play was something I was not actually aware of and was at first unsure at how this would work for a Greek comedy but it fit perfectly, with the funniest scenes incorporating a song or dance.

Daniel McVey is also worthy of particular note, fully embracing the singing and dancing as Baglin did. In one of the musical scenes, all the men were complaining about missing sex and being submissive to the new-found power Lysistrata and the women held, ripped their t-shirts and jeans off in anger, then seeing McVey dance round in white heart-patterned boxers. The audience were in fits of laughter, and also shock at the way their jeans could be torn off… props to the Trent costume designers!

The prop use added to the comedic feel, little water pistols being used to soak the men, and then the audience. Perhaps more shocking was the plastic penises worn by the men, used to show how much ‘pain’ they were in at not having sex in such a long time. The scene that stole the show saw Louis Djalili begging his wife Sasha Gibson to sleep with him. The hilarious and captivating Gibson teased him, wearing a silk robe, making sure the bed was fully made and he was covered in perfume before she left him and ran back inside, sticking to her vow not to sleep with him until the war was over.

“Women standing up to men and proving they are just as capable at sorting things out”

At the heart of the play was female empowerment, seeing women standing up to men and proving they are just as capable at sorting things out. Perhaps more importantly, however, was the importance of peace, however much it takes to achieve it.


Charlotte Hegley

All images courtesy of Nottingham Lakeside Arts Official Facebook Page

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