Dubrovski

Headlock Theatre’s adaptation of Pushkin’s unfinished novel was certainly powerful, no less because of its experimental use of symbolist modes of physical theatre.

Whilst challenging to perform in a confined space and with only minimal music, physical theatre gives actors another dimension in which the human capacity for cruelty, malice and love can be explored and expressed. It allows dreams and fantasies to be externalized; this was achieved in sequences such as the dance scene between Maria and Master Dubrovski, or the fight scene between old Dubrovski and Trokurov, where the real world within the play collapsed into the characters’ imagination.

Indeed the extremity of emotion expressed physically and symbolically perhaps compensated for the (at times) wooden dialogue, and the physical sequences ended up being more compelling than the play’s more realistic elements. Nonetheless, there were strong performances all round: Mike Edwarson deserves a mention as the suitably psychopathic Trokurov, as does Ellie Webb as his oppressed and perpetually tearful daughter Maria who captures the heart of the young Dubrovski with fateful consequences for both of them. Andy Beasley as Master Dubrovski competently demonstrated the character progression from a thoughtless and indulged son of a rich nobleman to a mature and courageous man, avenging the crimes committed against his father.

This was by no means a stunning or flawless performance, but it was intriguing and creative, and an assiduously faithful adaptation of Pushkin’s famous text.

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The Blurb

A physical adaptation of Pushkin’s unfinished novel - devastation born from classism and corruption within power struggles are explored in this Russian tale both comic and tragic. Whilst violent protest against the power-gorged elite may be romantic, is it right?

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