The Dukes: Beautiful Evil Things


Beautiful Evil Things was named Number 4 in The Guardian’s ‘Best Theatre of 2022

A fierce, funny look at the alternative stories of the villainised women in Greek mythology comes to the Dukes, Lancaster on the 11th & 12th June.

“This tour de force of physical theatre is unmissable” ★★★★ The Stage (on Odyssey) 

Told through the eyes of Medusa as she watches the battle of Troy, Ad Infinitum takes a look at the alternative stories of the most notorious women in Greek mythology in a new show co-created and performed by long-term collaborator Deborah Pugh. 

A bodiless head on the goddess Athena’s shield, the snake-haired Medusa watches over the battle, focusing on queens and prophets whose stories have been cast in the worst possible light. Casting Medusa as an archivist setting the record straight, history is retold with full nuance and colour as seen through a female gaze, and through the most powerful gaze in mythology. Told with the same high-energy physical storytelling as Ad Infinitum’s award-winning one-man Odyssey, their one-woman race through mythology is a fierce, funny take on female stories throughout history that have been forgotten, distorted or erased.

What if there was another take on the Trojan War you’d never heard? Enter Medusa: she was there. Monstrous gorgon? Snakes for hair? A turn-to-stone glare? Perhaps. But she was there – as a bodiless head strapped to the shield of a goddess. In forgotten and alternative stories about them, Iphigenia wasn’t the first child of Clytemnestra to be murdered by Agamemnon, Cassandra’s abilities were learned rather than god-given, Amazonian Queen Penthesilea wasn’t killed by Achilles, and Medusa was a protector of the ancient world. Beautiful Evil Things asks why the versions of the stories we know about these women are the most damning ones.

Co-creator and performer Deborah Pugh said, “Reseeing the stories of the Trojan War afresh through Medusa’s eyes has been a brilliant opportunity to review these well-worn classics and interrogate their familiar translations and tellings. How would a monstrous social outcast, murdered by a hero see things differently? Which characters would she connect to? How would she feel about gods and heroes having fallen foul of both of them? What would be her telling of these tales? And would they still feel so very… masculine? Some stories had to be unearthed, others reframed but this fabulously fearsome female gaze has been the perfect lens through which to view the tales of some truly phenomenal ancient wonder women, each as flawed, fearless and front footed as their male counterparts. Each stood strong and centre, driving their own story.”

Company information

Co-created by Deborah Pugh and George Mann

Performed & Co-Composed by Deborah Pugh Directed by George Mann

Set and costume design by Katie Sykes

Sound design and co-composed by Sam Halmarack Lighting design by Ali Hunter

Dramaturgy by Nir Paldi Associate directed by Megan Vaughan Thomas

Production manager Ethan Hudson

BSL interpreter Kyra Pollitt BSL Consultant Lynn Stewart-Taylor

Ad Infinitum is an international ensemble based in Bristol, developing new and original theatre. Founded in 2007, Ad Infinitum is led by Co-Artistic Directors, Nir Paldi and George Mann. They create shape-shifting socio-political theatre to provoke, move and inspire through innovative storytelling and bold experimental styles. Ad Infinitum’s theatre draws upon the power of the body, engages audiences with urgent issues, and ignites passionate debate. Previous shows include Extraordinary Wall [of Silence], No Kids, Translunar Paradise, Odyssey, Bucket List, Light, and Ballad of the Burning Star. Ad Infinitum is Associate Artist at Bristol Old Vic and The North Wall. They are Associate Artist Alumni at the Bush Theatre (2011-2013), The Lowry (2011-2017) and Redbridge Drama Centre (2009-2017).Their work has won awards at the Edinburgh Fringe (including Spirit of the Fringe and multiple Stage Awards), across the UK (including the Argus Angel Award), and many awards internationally.

Listing Information:

Dates and Times: 11th & 12th June 7.30pm

Tickets: or call box office on 01524 598 500. 

Running Time: 70 mins approx | Suitable for ages 12+

The Dukes: Beautiful Evil Things

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