The play, which opened last night at the NT Lyttleton (previews from 10 March 2010) and continues in rep until the 15 June, follows pro-Tsarist family the Turbins, caught in the maelstrom of war in 1918 Ukraine, as the battle for the city of Kiev is waged between the Germans, the Bolsheviks and the Ukranian nationalists.
First night critics were generally enthusiastic, if somewhat divided regarding the dramatic edge of Davies’ direction. Whilst admirers raved that the revival “triumphantly combines the intimate and the epic, the comic and the profoundly affecting”, others expressed doubts over whether the revival “manages a sense of true theatrical anarchy to match the story” and found that “the shifts of tone are occasionally uncomfortable”. However, minor grumblings aside, most heralded “a remarkable production”, and the acting of the “superb ensemble", led by Conleth Hill's "glorious study in slimy good manners" as Leonid.
- Jude Offord