Who Wants to Kill Yulia Tymoshenko? (Edinburgh Fringe)
This play at Assembly Roxy centres on the Ukrainian former prime minister, imprisoned for abuse of office with gas deals to Russia
The former Prime Minister of the Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, is still imprisoned having been found guilty in 2011 of brokering a gas deal with Russia – she became one of the country's richest industrialists during her Moscow business career – with other charges piling up since, including corruption, tax evasion and suspected murder.
The premise of Jakov Sedlar's production is that Yulia is completely innocent of all charges and that she is the victim of political machinations in her own country; she certainly has all the hallmarks of political sainthood, in being beautiful, blonde, highly intelligent, charismatic and admired by other leaders throughout Europe.
The Croatian actress Ines Wurth plays Yulia in a gleaming golden wig with her trademark plaits as a wrongly victimised opponent of her rival President Kuchma, thrown into a Kiev prison cell alongside a prostitute convicted of murdering her boyfriend, Lina (Katarina Arbanas), who is not exactly the person she seems to be.
While bonding with her new friend, who reminds her of her daughter, Yulia laboriously laments the betrayal of her homeland, the squandering of its abundant natural resources (the same thing happened in former Yugoslavia) and dreams of re-launching her so-called Orange revolution.
There's a good twist in the tale, but the show is curiously pious and static, and not helped by starting with a scuzzy, hard-to-see projected film of Yulia the international star, meeting her peers and praised to the skies by the admirable likes of Paulo Coehlo and Vaclav Havel.
Who Wants to Kill Yulia Tymoshenko? continues at Assembly Roxy until 25 August