Written in 1928, five years after Stalin took control of the Communist Party, The Suicide was banned in 1932, before it had had a single public performance. It was not seen in the Soviet Union until 1982.
The comedy centres on Semyon, unemployed, living in the hallway and watching his wife Masha slave all the hours God sends. When his last hope to earn a crust and gain some self-respect disappears, he decides to take his own life. Word gets out of his intention and he finds himself inundated with visitors begging him to die on their behalf. Dying for It continues its limited season until 28 April 2007.
Overnight critics enjoyed the production and said the performances were top-notch, particularly that of Tom Brooke as Semyon, and the production won four stars all round. However, critics did note that some of Buffini’s modern phrasing jarred slightly, and while the characters were hilarious as stereotypes, some were slightly shallow.
- by Caroline Ansdell