A POWERFUL retelling of Sophocles's Ajax is now on at the Southwark Playhouse. Written by Timberlake Wertenbaker it is an epic drama of heroism, love and homeland set among a British regiment on the front line.
A bare set of sand underfoot and a curtain at the back to signify a tent is all that is needed in this incredibly moving production.
Ajax, played by a towering Joe Dixon, is going slowly mad thanks to the horrors of war. Once a revered colonel, he is now suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and mad rages.
He staggers on to the sand strewn stage covered in blood and sweat dragging a bloodied and mutilated corpse of a goat which he thinks is Odysseus thanks to the goddess Athena having messed with his brain.
Prone to violent outbursts peppered with moments of sorrow and compassion, Ajax's family and regiment are confused at the change in this once powerful, charismatic and enigmatic leader, father and husband and don't know how to handle him but try to do so with love and understanding.
At its heart the play explores and shows us what war can do to human beings - not just physically but perhaps more importantly, mentally.
There are some great performances including from Frances Ashman as Ajax's wife Tecmessa but it is the fabulous and moving portrayal by Dixon as Ajax which really lights up the stage.
Our Ajax is on at the Southwark Playhouse in Newington Causeway until November 30.
Tickets cost £16. Call the box office on 020 7407 0234.