Reviews London TheatreWest End & Central Published 3 February 2016

Review: Iphigenia in Splott at National Theatre

National Theatre

Post-show discussion: Gary and Effie sit down for a chat…

William Drew
Sophie Melville in Iphigenia in Splott at National Theatre. Photo: Mark Douet.

Sophie Melville in Iphigenia in Splott at National Theatre. Photo: Mark Douet.

(An empty theatre. The audience have left some time ago. Two chairs. A young woman. Blonde hair pulled back, leggings, hoodie. A man, conservatively dressed, red hair, beard, thirties maybe or forties. Older than her. She (EFFIE) sits, takes ownership of the space. He (GARY) is on the edge of the space, hesitating.)

EFFIE: Wha’?


EFFIE: Sit down.


EFFIE: Don’t stand like that, si’ down.

GARY: yeah, yeah, yeah, sorry.


(watches as he sits. He can’t get comfortable. She stares him down. He shifts around a bit more)



(He smiles, gentle. It doesn’t soften her.)

EFFIE: You think you know me, d’you?

GARY: I – is that?

EFFIE: Wha-?

GARY: Is that a-

EFFIE: A wha-?

GARY: A trick, like, a trick question.

EFFIE: Why would it be a trick question?

GARY: Well…

EFFIE: Could I trick you? Is that something I could do cause…

GARY: Well, I suppose, you couldn’t because…

EFFIE: Couldn’t fucking trick you could I because…

GARY: Well yeah…

EFIIE: Exactly


(He looks away for a second)

EFFIE: Going well, isn’t it?


EFFIE: Don’t look fucking embarrassed. Don’t give me that modest shit.

GARY: People have really responded to your story and yeah, I’m proud of that. I’m proud of us.

EFFIE: Your story.

GARY: Well you’re in it. It’s happening to you.

EFFIE: All the fucking things, eh? All that unbearable shit. I died. I died and then I was fucking resurrected so I could die again.

GARY: Well it’s.. it’s…ehhh… for a reason

EFFIE: To serve you. To embody this nobility. To break the hearts of these fuckers every night.

GARY: It’s not about that. There’s an emotional level to it, yes, but politics-

EFFIE: Fuck/ politics

GARY: Politics can be emotional, yes

EFFIE: I don’t want it. I don’t want to have that stuck to me. Don’t want to be a placard.

GARY: You may to but… you…you…

EFFIE: I what?

GARY: Well you don’t have a choice. I created you.

EFFIE: You did. And you gave me this name –

GARY: Effie

EFFIE: The other one. I looked that shit up on Wikipedia.

GARY: Iphigenia?

EFFIE: That me, is it? Effie short for that, is it?

GARY: There was an intentional connection in the sounds…

EFFIE: There’s me thinking it’s fucking Frances. Pretty shite name but at least people know how to say it, eh? She gets killed though, don’t she, this Iphigewhat? By her dad. So the ships can sail to war.

GARY: Yes.

EFFIE: Was she real?

GARY: No, I mean yes. Probably. In some way.

EFFIE: So I was always going to be sacrificed. In your mind there was never any chance for me. Everything I did, it was always going to go to shit because I am her.

GARY: That was something I wanted to explore. Who we sacrifice in our society. Modern tragedy.

EFFIE: Nice for you.


EFFIE: What about me then?

GARY: What about you what, Effie?

EFFIE: Am I fucking real or what?

(He stares straight back at her now. Meets her dead on. Brave now.)

GARY: Probably. In some way.


Iphigenia in Splott plays at the National Theatre’s Temporary Space until 20th February 2016. Click here for tickets.


William Drew

William Drew is a writer, dramaturg and games designer based in Brighton. He makes work at the intersection between live performance and gaming as Venice as a Dolphin and an associate of Coney. He is Associate Dramaturg of New Perspectives in Nottingham. He spent several years working in the Royal Court Theatre’s International and Literary Departments and has been a script reader for the National Theatre, Hampstead and Traverse Theatres. You can find out more about his work here:

Review: Iphigenia in Splott at National Theatre Show Info

Produced by Sherman Crymru

Directed by Rachel O'Riordan

Written by Gary Owen

Cast includes Sophie Melville

Original Music 27th January - 20th February 2016



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