Opened 26 Oct 2004
Written: by Nikolai Erdman, in a new version by Declan Donnellan
Directed: Declan Donnellan
Cast: Deborah Findlay (Nadejda Petrovna),Sinead Matthews (Nastia), David Collings (Autonom), Naomi Frederick (Varvara Sergeevna), Martin Hutson (Pavel ), Adrian Scarborough (Ivan Ivanovich Shironkin), Bruce Alexander (Olymp Valerianovich Smetanich), Daniel Hart (Anatoly), Carol Macready (Vishnevezkaia, Tamara Leopoldovna) , Laurence Penry-Jones (Valerian), Michael Rouse (Ensemble ), Roger Sloman (An Organ Grinder), Harry Towb (Agaphangel).
Synopsis: The revolution turns the Guliachins’ world upside down. First they must track down members of the working class to pose as relatives. And there’s ‘Copenhagen Twilight’ to replace with a portrait of Karl Marx. But in a bizarre case of mistaken identity, the cook is confused for the Grand Duchess Anastasia… or a call girl, depending on whether she is in or out of her dress.
What the critics had to say.....
NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "There is far too much of the whizz-bang approach to his slapstick." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "The play makes compelling viewing for lovers of farce or students of Russia's tormented past." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "The joke is so forcefully rammed home, and so over-extended, that it ceases to be funny." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "Much of the play is quirkily and enjoyably inventive....A more measured, realistic production might have proved funnier." IAN SHUTTLEWORTH for THE FINANCIAL TIMES says, "He [Declan Donnellan] animates the absurd farce and the mordant social and political satire of Nikolai Erdman's 1925 comedy, and his own translation is more beautifully judged still. What it does not convey is a sense that any of it matters."
Production photo by John Haynes