BWW Reviews: 2 SHORT RUSSIANS - A Russian Celebration
5 Pound Theatre's production, 2 short Russians, opened this week at the Owl and The Pussycat. Act 1 opens with Maksym Kurochkin's Vodka Fucking and Television. In this play Hero, played effectively by young up and coming actor Jack Beeby has to decide whether vodka (Susannah Frith) fucking (Clare Callow) or television (Dmitri Pronin) is ruining his life. All three state their case trying to persuade Hero to eliminate one of them from his life. Jason Cavanagh's direction of this piece is stunning. He incorporates technology throughout this script in a way that highlights its contemporary nature, while still managing to keep the play's intimacy and core value. You are left wondering whether Kurochkin's play is a personal confession or a snapshot of a generation at the turn of the 21st century.
Act 2 is Anton Chekov's masterpiece The Bear. In It Smirnoff (Dmitri Pronin) comes to collect a debt owed to him by the widow Popova (Susannah Frith) An argument ensues for the entirety of the one act play, climaxing in a dual to the death and resolving in the two falling in love. The tension garnered between Pronin and Frith is electric, with neither giving an inch in a battle of gender. Pronin is the star in this play and of the evening. Given his Russian heritage you cant help but feel this night was made for him. He commands and dominates the stage from the outset of Act 2, his spoken and singing voice demands you pay him attention and he gives Smirnoff just the right amount of contrast to give him more than just the initial bearish qualities on display.
This is a great double header the 5 pound Theatre have produced and a wonderful opportunity to see two great Russian plays by two contrasting playwrights.
2 Short Russians
The Owl & The Pussycat Theatre
Until June 8