But this makes it unbelievably rich in levels of meaning, especially when you add the personal conflicts between various characters, and a thread of reflection on sexual roles. And there are racial issues at play too. The Thebans are mostly black, the Athenians mostly white (although their
It's probably too much for one play to handle, but it's bloody close to succeeding. It has good jokes, which might surprise you. The one that got the biggest laugh was the most obvious, though: Oedipus (father and brother of two of characters) is described as a real motherfucker.
Actually, there was so much in it, I don't think I'm equipped to talk about it much more. I think I'll see it again.
Until then, let's just note that the cast was the blackest I've seen in an NT production. It wasn't colour-blind casting by any means, but subtle in the way it played on expectations. Presumably as a result the audience was noticeably blacker than usual, and I felt there was some sense among the black audience of delight at seeing so many black faces on the stage. Biggest applause went to Madeline Appiah, as Megaera, for a brilliantly fierce performance, but performances all round were excellent.