The characters are strong: completely realistic, but also completely accepting of the strange aspects of their world.
Natalia Vorozhbyt's script (translated by Sasha Dugdale) is excellent. It is personal, fast paced and strange, with something of the fairy tale offset against a naturalistic story of grief. It really gives a sense of how tradition and story interact with reality and the present in a much closer way than we might like to admit. This fluidity allows for a free investigation of more diverse themes – of memory and loss, of course, but also of masculinity and nationhood. The way this domestic tale interacts with its investigation of Ukraine's political troubles is an excellent example of this.
The characters are strong: completely realistic, but also completely accepting of the strange aspects of their world. Paul Cunningham gives a compelling performance as Sasha, calling on tenderness and matter-of-fact-ness as the play demands. Jenny Hulse gives us a sympathetic Oksana. Jill Riddiford's Katya, however, leaves something to be desired; the role is rather a nuanced one, with Katya's strong resilience and controlling nature contrasting with her vulnerability and love, and Riddiford fails to convince.
This is, in all, a strange and beautiful piece of theatre which fully deserves the attention it is receiving. If this play is anything to go by, we can expect exciting things from the two Russian plays coming up later in the season.