A Hero Of Our Time

I was thrilled to experience a piece of theatre performed in its traditional style but with a fair number of contemporary tweaks to keep the audience on its toes. A Hero of our Time is an excellent adaptation of the Lermontov novella by the Kingston University group. The Russian theatrical style it embodies is surprisingly complemented by the minimalist use of props and set, and the slow-motion exaggerated action sequences add an element of ironic humour to the more serious stage moments.Our protagonist, Pechorin (Peter Wicks), is the quintessential anti-hero; a strongly opinionated, witty, callous, self-destroying player. He is the classic example of the ‘superfluous man’ – someone who wastes his better talents through lack of aspiration and opportunity. He courts the young princess Mary, stealing her from another soldier. Like many 19th Century Russian dramas, everyone is, on some level, part of the aristocracy, and all the men are in military service of some kind. Owing to Pechorin’s seedy reputation, some scandal ensues and one is never quite sure until the last minute what his true feelings are.I do, however, have some mild reservations about the casting. Firstly, accents were not consistent; I heard East Coast US, prep school English and a little Welsh too – all these characters came from the Russian aristocracy therefore differences in accent would be minimal. I also felt the lead actress fell short of the expectation of her role, her persona failing to shine out from the group. I was ashamed of the female side of the cast in general, as they did not reflect the high standard of acting presented by their male counterparts. Despite the suspended reality used for all the props, save for the pistols, set changes with the little furniture required were often tedious and cut the momentum of the overall production.All things considered, this was still a wonderfully refreshing and ingenious production that would have impressed any of the great Russian literati.

Reviews by Louise Hemfrey

Cluedo

★★★

The End

★★★★

Broken Wing

★★★★

Mah Hunt

★★★★★

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The Blurb

In the world premiere of Lermontov’s ground-breaking novel, violence, passion and betrayal erupt. Pechorin, exiled from the army, begins an audacious affair with a Princess. Award-nominated ensemble Kudos return with their trademark physicality and storytelling.

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