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Click on the images below for links to the plays and reviews
click here for link Greek (opera)
Andrew Clements interviewing Mark-Anthony Turnage
15 Feb 2000

I just got stuck into cutting Berkoff's play and setting the lines almost as soon as I'd cut them. It was a strange way of working. Greek is a very wordy play, and the language is unbelievable - the opera libretto's tame by comparison. I had to match that language, that extraordinary combination of Shakespeare, colloquial English and cockney, and the sort of seaside humour that suddenly becomes incredibly lyrical.

click here for link Greek 1997

Greek was written as a desperate attempt to imagine a reality beyond the urban nightmare of the early Eighties. The genius of Berkoff is that he accomplishes this with tremendously visceral wit and sexy theatricality.

click here for link Greek (opera) (link is no longer free)
Geoff Brown, 7 Nov 2000

Caricature, not insight, dominates the libretto.

Act II had the evening’s red meat. Instead of a static procession of scenes played out against Conor Murphy’s black doors and garish miniature interiors, we were drawn into genuine drama: sort-of-sex down by the footlights, riddling Sphinxes, the awful truth dawning.

click here for link Greek (link is no longer free)
Charles Spencer, 10 Jan 2001

Without Berkoff's insistence on high-definition energy, and his hijacking of mime from poncy, posturing Frenchmen, I doubt whether Theatre de Complicité and a host of other imaginative companies would have flowered so productively over the past 20 years.

But there is a downside to Berkoff - the monstrous ego, the self-indulgence, the childish obscenity, and the gaping hole where his heart ought to be.

He took to writing plays largely to create whopping, showy parts for himself, but his work reveals a stunted, misanthropic personality, seething with hatred for almost everything except his own, loudly proclaimed genius. The sledgehammer vigour of his drama exhilarates at first, but after a couple of hours you are screaming to be let out of the theatre.

click here for link Greek

Steven Berkoff Greek Steven Berkoff Greek

click here for link Greek
Matrix Theatre,
LA, 1982

Berkoff is to this generation what John Osborne was to his -- with one difference. Berkoff is a poet -- an angry one -- with words pouring out of his characters' mouths like strings of unending phlegm -- words of anger and injustice and digested filth. This theater rants and rails you while provoking thoughts and feelings that erupt as though GREEK was an emotional inner acne.

click here for link Greek (opera) (link is no longer free)

Cette œuvre dense pour quatre solistes (aux rôles multiples) et ensemble de chambre (une vingtaine d´interprètes usant presque tous de petites percussions d´appoint) se présente comme une relecture sans complexe du mythe d´Œdipe, sur la base d´une pièce décapante de Steven Berkoff écrite en cockney. Skinhead oisif, Eddy y joue le rôle du héros grec recadré dans une dimension post-moderne qui traite l´assassinat du père (un gérant de bar), l´accouplement avec la mère (une serveuse), l´énigme du Sphinx (double, féminin et porté sur le sexe), le fléau symbolique (une épidémie de peste liée au régime de Margaret Thatcher) et la mort fatale (évacuée in fine sous prétexte que rien ne résiste à l´amour) avec une désinvolture volontairement caricaturale.

click here for link Harry´s Christmas (link is down)
Aaron Jelbart

The bulk of the play is Harry in conversation with himself, analysing his life and the reasons why he is alone for the holidays once again. He emerges as a fully rounded character with more than his share of human frailty, and the impending tragedy is more powerful for being so localised and mundane. It’s a marvellous piece of dramatic writing.

...this approach to the character seems to mute the roar of Berkoff’s script, however, and makes the ending trite when it should be heartbreaking. He is not shown here engulfed by despair, at the edge of the pit, and so his story doesn’t move us in the way it should...The potential offered by Berkoff’s script is left largely unrealised.


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