FOR a man who was supposedly one of the most distinguished of the Greek heroes, Agamemnon took a back seat to his wife, Clytemnestra, who commanded the stage in this atmospheric production at the York Theatre Royal.

The production, based on Agamemnon, son of King Atreus, and the commander-in-chief of the Greeks during the Trojan War, had a distinctively feminist feel, clearly influenced by woman director Lisa Blair.

The historic tale began with Clytemnestra waiting for her husband to return from the Trojan War.

She was full of hatred for the man who sacrificed their daughter, Iphigeneia, to appease the goddess Artemis, whom he angered before going to Troy.

The scheming Clytemnestra, played by Annie Duffield, achieved some stunning moments of rage and pain in her climactic speeches, and the audience was inclined to sympathise with her rather than the somewhat smug Agamemnon, played by Willian Poskett, who appears halfway through the production, and was intensely dislikeable.

It was hardly any wonder she started to feel homicidal in such company, and when she slayed Agamemnon, alone in a bath, it was almost hard not to stand up and cheer.

All this was set off by ominous lighting and sound effects, that turned the House of Atreus into the Haunted Mansion, with Clytemnestra's strong-willed and powerful soliloquies accompanied by Psycho-esque music.

A 12ft platform took centre stage, which was both commanding and intimidating in the small theatre, representing the characters' attempt to climb to the levels of the gods.

The chorus, played by Frankie Haynes, Chi-San Howard, Victoria Lloyd and Ned Roberts, were the main body of the Greek tragedy, with a loud, clear and opinionated narrative which brought the play alive.

But the Legend of the Curse (again played by Ned Roberts) overshadowed at times, with long overdrawn speeches in an irritable, trembling-voiced quality, in his description of the grim events and fearful portents.

The choice of costume in the play, metallic dresses and silver leggings (which wouldn't look out of place on the racks at French Connection), was a key visual effect in adding a metal theme, hierarchy and wealth of the characters.

The Four Hundred And 48 Productionhas gives out a strong warning to weak-willed men - to keep out of a scorned woman's way.