I Miss Communism

This one-woman show is a vivid story of a Croatian woman’s journey from Communist Yugoslavia, to her new life in America, and back again. Passionately presented by Ines Wurth, it tells a moving tale of three generations of Croatian women and their attitudes to life and communism.

After growing up under the dictatorship of Tito, as well as that of her mother and grandmother, Ines escapes to America where she begins to experience the freedom missing from communist countries. Returning later during the Yugoslav wars she experiences the ethnic conflicts first hand, and doesn’t return to Croatia until many years later.

Written by Ines Wurth and Mark Soper, Ines narrates her experiences over the years, sometimes slipping into the different characters in her life; her mother, her grandmother, her boss in Los Angeles, and more often than not, Oliver Twist (the object of her childhood dreams). Through song, stories and reflections Wurth chronicles life in Croatia and her subsequent freedom in the United States.

The story is moving, the situations interesting, but this show is let down by its delivery. It belongs in the midst of the excitement of an arts festival, not cold and stark in a midweek showing. The performance is innocent, and requires the audience to enter the theatre already forgiving the rawness of the production. Each time Wurth breaks into song, whether it be a childhood memory of Oliver! or a sassy performance of the new song I’m a Communist sung to the tune of Chicago’s All That Jazz, it breaks the narrative and gives the impression that this show is sailing along on the merits of it’s story, not the way it’s been put together.

Wurth is still a gutsy performer; her performance has all the honesty you’d want when dealing with this subject matter, but perhaps this show needs the lift it will get when it plays at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this year. She’ll get bigger, more forgiving audiences and the rawness and humour of this show will thrive back in the theatrical fringe where it belongs.

– Marcus Roberts