Refinery ArtSpace, 114 Hardy St, Nelson

15/03/2024 - 19/03/2024

Nelson Fringe Festival 2024

Production Details

Adapted by Ben Hales – Splendid Productions
Director - Anton Bentley

Piece of Work Productions


Piece of Work Productions takes you to a dark place with a brand new adaptation of Medea by Euripides by the UK’s Splendid Productions.

In Ancient Greece, the name of the monstrous murdering mother Medea was well- known. The story of Medea, the mysterious sorcerer-princess who helped Jason steal the famous Golden Fleece from her father, is a mythical romance with a terrible, terrible ending.

This creative new adaptation puts the audience at the heart of the performance, as a kindly chorus of grandmothers presents a timeless tale of passion, betrayal and revenge. While history paints Medea as a pitiless monster, we wonder if the truth can be so black and white.

What does it take to drive a woman to murder her own children? Is there a small human story inside the mighty myth? And whose version of history should we believe?

In a series of inventive Brechtian episodes, Splendid’s powerful cast of three show how an ancient story can resonate through time, and how the simplest of theatrical ideas can have a devastating impact.

From the company that brought you Metamorphosis and Woyzeck at the 2023 Fringe, receiving five nominations, and three Awards for Best Ensemble, Best Local and Development, as well as the Spirit of the Fringe – whew – how impressive is that?

Like last year’s Metamorphosis and Woyzeck, The Trial was originally created by the UK’s Splendid Productions. Splendid takes old stories and spin them into new thought prodding, theatrical, political, anti 4th wall, heart-exposing versions. The aims to raise questions, highlight contradictions in the characters, the story, society and aim to provoke debate.
Refinery ArtSpace, Hardy Street, Nelson
When Fri 15, Sun 17 & Tues 19 March at 7:35pm

Tickets from $26 –

Molly Clarke
Romeo Scott
Myles Smalley

Theatre ,

60 minutes

A punchy, passionate, playful and provocative adaptation

Review by Judene Edgar 16th Mar 2024

In Ancient Greece, Medea, the prophetic princess with magical powers, was a hero while she dutifully fought beside and helped Jason steal the Golden Fleece from her father. But perhaps, like too many stories of lust, love, and loss, the woman scorned becomes the monster … and she did, with the terribly tragic ending in Euripides’ retelling of this myth casting Medea as a murderer.

Adapted by Splendid Productions from Euripides’ play written in 431 BC, the creative adaptation puts the audience at the heart of the performance, as the young actors present a timeless tale of passion, betrayal, and revenge. The performance takes the audience through a range of emotions, as the story of a wife and mother who is cheated on and discarded by her hero husband and seeks her revenge unfolds. But we are left wondering, who was the real victim, Jason or Medea?

Medea kills her own children – if she can’t have them then no one can – but in doing so, saves them from death at the hands of her foes. While history paints Medea as a pitiless monster, we wonder if the truth really is black and white. This retelling helps to open our eyes to her motives and provides a human side to Medea.

In a series of short scenes, the cast of three show how an ancient story can resonate through time, incorporating current tales of tragedy and the reality that “children die every day. We’re not saying it’s right; we’re saying it happens.” With such dark messaging, you’d be surprised to know that there’s also lots of laughter and light throughout, and some earworm tunes.

Despite being part of the school curriculum, I admit to being a little hesitant about Medea being presented as a youth production due to the dark subject matter. But the play itself reminds us that tragedy and terror are not just things of myths. It also reminds us that history is written by the victors – yes, I realise this is fictional – but there is a side to Medea that is often not told in women’s story. So perhaps part of the power of the show is that it is a youth production, and the realisation that not all stories have a happy ending.

The cast – Molly Clarke, Romeo Scott, and Myles Smalley – all deliver strong performances with emotion and intensity. With no props or scenery, they have nowhere to hide, so all the storytelling relies on their acting.

Molly Clarke in the eponymous role captures our hearts, minds and empathy. We feel her anguish, anger and angst. She is a woman abandoned, banished and broken.

Romeo Scott and Myles Smalley play our narrators, seamlessly switching between first person and third person dialogues and monologues. Romeo brings a lot of the light relief to the show with his ironic interjections. He also delivers a gruesome monologue with a richness of tone and strategic pauses that seems to belie his age.

Known for his physical comedy, it is good to see Myles taking on a different role. Nonetheless, his lightness and comedic timing help the play to breathe. And when he hits a few bum notes on the guitar, his professionalism and natural charm carry him through, and he is rewarded with a round of applause from the audience.

Director Anton Bentley has challenged himself and his cast to bring this punchy, passionate, playful and provocative adaptation of Medea to life and he has more than succeeded. Love hurts, but it would hurt a lot more to miss this play! 


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