Theatre of Gulags tells a story of art and resistance within USSR labour camps. Panning across five detached, yet narratively linked stages, this theatrical installation follows the story of four artists: theatre director Les Kurbas, director Natalya Sats, musician Vadim Kozin and writer and puppeteer Hava Volovich.
The disaffected son of a clergyman, Sir Paul Dukes, ran away to Russia to work as a musician. While there, the Russian Revolution started and British intelligence recruited him to work as a secret agent. He was to smuggle prominent people and useful materials across the border to Finland, and otherwise do what spies do without getting himself killed. Reportedly a master of disguise, the so-called ‘man of a 100 faces’ is portrayed by the versatile and energetic Saul Boyer, though the story is so dense and frenetically told that it is difficult to keep track of the various subplots and characters.
Boshirov and Petrov are Russian men who find themselves on the run after they are implicated in the biggest spy drama of the decade. Accused of poisoning a compatriot on British soil with Novichok, they have hotfooted it back to Russia in an attempt to give the authorities the slip. But with their names and faces all over the media and a seemingly conclusive collection of evidence against them, their case looks desperate.
A devastating and often surreal critique of a state’s oppression of a minority, with a strictly limited dissemination in the country it was written in, A Little Hero is a brave first play for young company DoneDid. Its production at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington doesn’t always quite get it right, but makes a worthy and powerful attempt.
The Laundry is a lovely collaboration of writing by 15 Degrees Theatre that explores womanhood across many generations and across many cultures. Travelling across Europe from Russia, the play begins with two sisters and ends in three stories that will have you wanting to ring your mum the minute it ends.
The performance begins on entering the Saatchi Gallery, and we are asked to fill out questionnaires on preferences of social action. These are then used to tailor our experiences of the performance. We are led into a clinical waiting room, briefed and provided with balaclavas and protest signs. From there we are taken on a journey through Pussy Riot’s experience of the Russian judicial system and labour camps they were subjected to after they stormed Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow in 2012.