In the 1990's, Svetlana Alliluyeva came to the UK from the US and settled in Bristol. Prior to this, she had travelled around the globe settling and then moving on. This pattern continued until her death in 2011. Not extraordinary until you find out that Svetlana Alliluyeva is the daughter of Joseph Stalin.

Kirsty Cox (Svetlana) in Blue Blood's Production of Stalin's Daughter
Kirsty Cox (Svetlana) in Blue Blood's Production of Stalin's Daughter
© Zuleika Henry

Writer David Lane takes the little we know about the life of Svetlana whilst in Clifton and the myriad of information available about her early life and pieces together a one person show that grabs hold of its audience and tears through her hope, neuroses and nightmares.

Kirsty Cox is Svetlana and a number of other people who have passed through her life. From the driver who picks her up at the station and teaches her colloquial Bristolian through to the greengrocer who becomes Svetlana's touchstone, Cox's clarity of character and definition is, in large part, the drive of the show. Her recurring mantra that, Tomorrow we make new memories is a sign of hope at the beginning and painfully absent by the end. The real success story of the show, however, is Lane's script which is a rhythmic rollercoaster. His prose is lyrical, dancing from the hope that she had on first arrival through to the pain she suffers when recalling her upbringing.

The pace is relentless and the moments of lightness are welcome at the beginning and are missed near the end. This, and a very hot theatre aside, Stalin's Daughter is an inventive, passionate and largely engaging piece of work.