Review of MEDEA playing at the Archway Theatre in NOHO

Archway Theatre presents “Medea” playing through October 1 at The Archway Theatre in the NoHo Arts District

Directed by Steven Sabel.

Ah Medea, the bane of every strong, scorned woman’s life, the standard by which all we “Exes” are bound to be judged. 

It’s a particularly high bar she set, but then, as I said at the end of the play to my husband, “he really should have known what he was getting into…”

So the story, if you are not familiar, is this.  Jason, of the Argonauts fame, met Medea when he was off on one of his adventures and needed her help to get the Golden Fleece. She agreed to help him if he married her, but first, she had to escape her father which she did by killing her brother to cause a distraction…nice.

They then married and had several children together and then many years later he met Glauce, daughter of Creon the King of Corinth and abandons Medea and their children…typical!

Anyone else would probably have slunk away, hurt, angry and blaming themselves, but not Medea…oh no.  Medea conjures up diabolical spells and wreaks havoc, brings death and horror and ultimately fully embodies (and some) the over used  term, “a woman spurned.” 

So, now you have the story straight let’s get to the telling of it.  A play adapted from the works of Seneca and Euripides, Medea is an honest to goodness Greek Tragedy, complete with chorus and togas.  But for all the drama of the ancient world, even surrounding Medea, it could be a bit stale, or tame by our ‘modern’ standards or gore…although it’s pretty graphic.  However, The Archway Theatre company has efficiently avoided all those cliches and has created a performance worthy of the the masters who wrote them.

I love a good Greek Tragedy…all fire and passion and revenge!  And this wonderful production of Medea is a really good example of how a love for the masters can shine through on stage.

Archway always go all the way, never holding back on the gloriousness of a classic style.  Every actor is true to their roles, some flamboyant, some unsure, some muscley and all of them terrific!  They wove and smoldered and wept their way so adeptly through this morbid, sorrowful tale, never once missing a beat.  Well done all, and also Director Steven Sabel.

With a play like this the only way to truly understand it is if you to take it seriously.  Sure there are men in skirts, sure there are some crazy moments, but the art of Greek Tragedy is in those moments when everything pivots on love or hate or death.  So the actors must also make this story totally real for themselves, otherwise, for an audience it could never be.  But that is why this production works so well for me.  We are on a small dark stage in North Hollywood. With sets and actors in costumes baring their souls and it all feels completely real.  Every moment of action is a moment shared by the audience.  We feel as if we are standing there with them, in the heat, 350 BC, watching the world change. It’s really, really that good.

So book your tickets folks.  It’s not often you have the chance to see a play written almost 2,500 years ago anywhere in L.A., and this small, perfect and continually surprising Archway Theatre has been gracious enough to provide you with a more than excellent window into the ancient world, where you will quickly realize that very little has really changed.

Archway Theatre presents “Medea” playing through October 1st at The Archway Theatre, 10509 Burbank Blvd, North Hollywood. 


Sara Davenport, Jason DeWitt, Melissa Virgo, John Eddings, Annie Freeman, Angela Dobson Robbins, Jennifer D Hawkins, Kei’la Ryan, Alex G. Smith, Summer Branham

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a Theatre and Food Writer and Filmmaker living in Los Angeles.