Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14

Friday 4th October

Town Hall

Music Theatre Wales

Michael Rafferty conductor

Marcus Farnsworth Eddy

Sally Silver Eddy’s Mum / Waitress / Sphinx

Louise Winter Eddy’s Sister / Waitress who becomes Eddy’s Wife / Sphinx

Gwion Thomas Eddy’s Dad / Café Manager / Chief of Police

The Music Theatre Wales Ensemble

Michael McCarthy director

Simon Banham designer

Ace McCarron lighting designer

Sound Intermedia sound design

Mark-Anthony Turnage Greek 90’

This staged performance has a running time of c 1 hour 50 minutes including one 20 minute interval.

A Town Hall Symphony Hall event, promoted in collaboration with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Back in the Thatcher years, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Greek kicked and swore its way to classic status. A quarter of a century later, this savage re-telling of the story of Oedipus relocated to a blighted East End remains shockingly relevant. This fully-staged new production by Music Theatre Wales doesn’t pull any punches – and Turnage himself has hailed it as ‘superb…amazingly powerful’.

a contemporary classic The Stage

blisteringly realised The Telegraph



Review by Richard Bratby, Birmingham Post:

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…     “What really hit you was the sheer freshness of Turnage’s score: its pounding, percussive drive, its grungy, sax-coloured substrata, and the moments of grimy, metallic lyricism that glinted through its overcast skies. Under Michael Rafferty, MTW’s onstage orchestra played with pin-point virtuosity – giving wholehearted support, despite a few balance problems, to the excellent cast. Farnsworth’s cocksure Eddy quite properly dominated every scene in which he appeared, but Gwion Thomas and Sally Silver played his adoptive parents with quiet pathos, while Louise Winter gave real tragic stature to the part of his birth-mother and (unknowing) wife.”     …



Review by Geoff Read, SeenandHeard, MusicWeb:

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…     “Paring the props and action down to a minimum allowed Turnage’s music to receive maximum focus. His score is worthy of this and still sounds like that of an 80s angry young man. It also illustrated the influences behind this composer’s style: the jazz idiom of Miles Davis and Charlie Mingus, the complexity of Stravinsky, the vocal writing prowess of Britten, the teachings of Henze and Knussen, all exploited in Greek could be detected. Turnage’s eclectic mix went down well with an enthusiastic audience, many no doubt harping back to the days when he was Composer in Residence with Simon Rattle and the CBSO during 1989-93. The eighteen man ensemble of MTW under the direction of Michael Rafferty were as impassioned as any army of football fans, symbolically represented by the Union Jack on the back of the conductor’s podium. The woodwind section were particularly busy and made some incredible sounds; at appropriate moments the resonances from the wailing piccolo of Kathryn Thomas and the piercing soprano saxophone of Kyle Horch reached alarming levels. It was hard to believe from the programme that there was but a single percussionist, namely Julian Warburton, such were the deafening noises that accompanied the riots of Act I, when the shit hits the fan. And when Eddy’s Dad respectfully removed his hat to tell his sorry tale of how they came by their ‘son’ in Act II, the viola break of Yuko Inoue brought true sadness to the moment.

The singers were also in fine voice. Marcus Farnsworth was a highly convincing Eddy – his uncouth Bolshie of Act I was worthy of an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order imposed in UK), while in Act II ten years later his character had begun to attract certain sympathy.”     …