TRT’S ‘ORESTES:’ MATRICIDE AND SONG

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Some pix from the reception that followed the opening-night performance of ‘Orestes‘ at Red Bank’s Two River Theater Saturday.

Star-Ledger theater critic Peter Filichia has a review of the “tragic romp,” for which playwright Anne Washburn updated the 2,400-year-old original by Euripides.

Referring to a tell-don’t-show opening monologue by Orestes’ sister, Electra, he writes:

How lucky for director Aaron Posner that he has the ever so talented Holly Twyford to make that opening monologue a mesmerizing one. Twyford struggles to keep from weeping. She holds her hands together, as if she desperately needs something to hold on to. We’re getting only her side of the story, to be sure, but Twyford’s Electra commands the audience’s attention.

Then Chris Genebach comes on as Helen of Troy — but Genebach is male and does not have looks that could launch even a single ship. This Helen, however, is supposed to be getting on in years, so Genebach gets away with it.

“Long speeches are better than short ones,” Orestes says. In actor Jay Sullivan’s mouth, that turns out to be true. Sullivan speaks passionately, and his young Robert Redford looks add to his charisma. Margo Seibert captures the ungainly qualities of the young Hermione, and Genebach returns to the stage later, to better advantage, as an infuriated Menelaus — Helen’s husband.

Posner finds and sustains a mood of impending doom. But the production’s most successful element is James Sugg’s music and the five-member female chorus that sings it a cappella. One hungers for an original cast album.