by Alexander Galin adapted by Chris Hannan from a translation by Julie Curtis.

Belgrade Theatre (B2) Belgrade Square CV1 1GS To 7 April 2012.
Tue-Sat 8pm no performance 6 April Mat Sat & 4 April 2.45pm.
Captioned 30 March.
Post-show Discussion 29 March.
Runs 2hr One interval.

TICKETS: 024 7655 3055.
Review: Jan Pick 22 March.

Olympic Gold at the Belgrade.
At the Belgrade, the smaller performance space B2 is transformed into a rundown army-style barracks inside the shell of an old church for this incisive, bleak, yet funny play by Russian Alexander Galin. Set in 1980 at the time of the summer Olympics in Moscow, and banned at the time, it is a chilling reminder of the lengths the old communist state would go to present a perfect picture to the rest of the world.

Whilst Moscow prepares to receive the Olympic torch the undesirables of the city are being shipped out for the duration. A group of prostitutes has been sent up into the hills to stay in the converted old church building, and it is their stories that we become involved in as the evening progresses.

Little Maria, an unmarried mother, worries about her baby and falling in love with the policeman son of the fire warden, Valentina, who is desperately trying to keep order, and to keep her son out of Maria’s clutches and on the proper communist rails, soured by experience and weary of her role.

Laura, the dreamer, fantasises about being a great actress, clutching at a last chance of love and respectability with Alexandr, an intellectual and dissident, who wanders in out of the night and might just be mad – or not.

Then there is Anna, whose earthy, dry humour covers her dragging fears of old age and death on the streets, and finally Klara, a brutish, bullying figure who has her own axe to grind, yet turns out to be as much a victim of her circumstances as the others.

Over the two hours performance we get to know them all, feel part of their lives, share their dreams and disappointments and leave them, celebrating their athletes, with the hope that life will be better for at least some of them when the party is all over. Lovely performances from everyone in the cast, with not a weak link among them, and yet another great evening in B2.

Maria: Irene Kelleher.
Nikolai: Brian Martin.
Klara: Aoibheann McCann.
Valentina: Elizabeth Moynihan.
Anna: Jessica Regan.
Laura: Ailish Symons.
Aleksandr: Alan Turkington.

Director: Hamish Glen.
Designer: Libby Watson.
Lighting: Arnim Freiss.
Sound: John Scott.

2012-03-26 23:41:04

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