UK Arts International

Steven Berkoff's


2013 Onwards

Creator: Steven Berkoff

Thebes is cursed. The citizens are in the grasp of devastation, famine and plague. What has angered the gods so, to make them reduce a once-great city to misery and ruin?
The murder of King Laius lies at the heart of the destruction. Oedipus the King will not rest until he has found the killer and lifted the curse. But his arrogance and self-importance blind him to the shocking truth. Banishing any who challenge him, he refuses to accept where the blame truly lies.

As the darkness surrounding Thebes deepens and taboos are shattered, the horror of Oedipus’s actions are revealed to him in an unforgettable climax.

In this acclaimed new version of one of the world's most enduring and greatest plays, writer and director Steven Berkoff has created  'The bravest, most exciting and moving Greek tragedy in years'  **** Sunday Times.

Oedipus was originally produced by Nottingham Playhouse and Liverpool Playhouse and subsequently presented at the Edinburgh Festival 2011.



"Berkoff provides a mimetic scenario to the Sophoclean narrative, and a Zorba-like balalaika dance for the choric village elders".

"Berkoff's expressionistic style, and Cockney idiom, operate like a Greek mask, conveying the unbearable with stylised ghastliness"**** The Independant


"the mixture of ancient and modern is affecting and effective, as always with this director". **** British Theatre Guide (Edinburgh Fringe)


"The acting and the miming of the chorus-like ensemble, on and around a long table, with frozen moments recalling works of Renaissance art, is superb".  **** The Jewish Chronicle


"Berkoff, who plays a swaggering, power-crazy capo called Creon, provides one of his most impressive performances in a long while".  ****


"Berkoff's mode is a unique blend of psychological realism and theatrical stylisation that turns out to be ideally suited to high tragedy. His translation from Sophocles is contemporary, colloquial and frequently obscene, but wholly true to the original, and the combination of earthy heightened realism for his leads and choreographed artificiality for the Chorus feels absolutely right". ***** Theatre Guide London


"Berkoff’s faithful reimagining of Sophocles’ drama about the downfall of Oedipus is lyrical, witty and inspired. The writing breathes fresh life and vigor into the classical artifice".  **** Fringe Review