Mehmet Ergen directs this premiere in Arcola Studio 1, which designer Matthew Wright has slightly reconfigured into a wide traverse, the audience either side of the bed where Selma lies helpless as Elka climbs onto her and demands that her life story be heard.
Mare Rider works better as a haunting story of a mother's greatest fear than it does in transposing the mythology into a modern feminist context. Elka's legend seems to be one of women holding each other back (men can repel or enslave if not destroy her, but women are powerless against her) and Nazli touches on an idea of their still being each other's worst enemy in the present day (Hara Yannas' tactless nurse who flirts with Mark while his wife's unconscious gives Elka plenty of ammunition here) but the play also touches on the rights or wrongs of Selma trying for children comparatively late, and of even bringing a child into a difficult world, and in such a short show it feels a bit muddled.
But any intimate performance by Kathryn Hunter is always worth seeing and Mare Rider gives her plenty of material to work with; Richard Williamson's lighting and Ben Walden and Dick Straker's video sequences also help create a sometimes haunting piece that provides a lot of striking imagery.
Mare Rider by Leyla Nazli is booking until the 16th of February at Arcola Studio 1; then continuing on tour to Sweden and Germany.
Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes straight through.