Belarus Free Theatre
This show, still in development with British theatre company Fuel, takes the form of a series of episodes illustrating life in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. They paint a bleak picture, but the scenes that use humour to flag up the idiosyncrasies of living in a dictatorship are by far the most compelling: a workers' canteen turns into an LGBT club by night, neither clientele aware of the building's alternative usage; a strip club gets approval from a government inspector; the imaginative nicknames of the country's most popular cheap booze are reeled off.
company give some fine performances, but too often the subtlety of
their character portrayals are lost in the broad brush strokes of the
show's choreographed, physical theatre moments. This makes for
affecting theatre, but ultimately left me longing for a more nuanced
production style. Having seen the company's last show, however, the funny,
anarchic and powerful Eurepica. Challenge., I'm
confident that the current production's flaws will be ironed out by
the ongoing development process. This show isn't perfect, but it's stirring stuff and, given the nature of the subject matter, an important one to see.