The Brief Life and Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria: Part The First, VAULT Festival

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By Zahid Fayyaz

Here’s a slice of history from Out of the Forest Theatre, set during World War Two. It follows the story of King Boris the Third, who allied with Nazi Germany for geopolitical reasons, but wanted to keep Bulgaria out of the fighting and his Jewish citizens safe as much as possible. This story is told with the use of dramatic recreations of what we are told are true events, with Bulgarian Folk tunes peppered throughout the performance.

This is an excellent show, which tells a fascinating, historical story with real zip and pizzazz. The five person cast seamlessly play different characters, switching with the aid of just a hat in some cases. The meta-theatrical asides are very funny, and there is an energy and joy to the show, despite the very dark subject matter. It’s also very satirical, and questions the nature of heroism. It certainly does not give Boris an easy ride either, and put the question to him several times as to whether he had in fact done all he could to save the Jewish population of Bulgaria.

This mix of comedy and historical drama is wonderfully done, and the humour never takes away from the real horror the show was describing. Though this is a short run, hopefully the production will return.

The Brief Life and Mysterious Death of Boris III, King of Bulgaria: Part The First runs through 15 March.

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