ED2023 Reviews ED2023 Theatre Reviews

Vanya Is Alive (Cie OESAP, France)

By | Published on Tuesday 8 August 2023

Or Vanya is not alive. We share the distress of a Russian mother with conflicting news of the fate of her soldier son in Ukraine. We observe the compliance, or is it complicity, of neighbours and officials in a state where falsehood, fear, and contradiction rule. And then we watch her seemingly inevitable lonely and confused destruction. The performance is readily accessible to an audience familiar with, say, Orwell’s ‘1984’, though it’s probably helpful quickly to tune into the meaning-reversed language of the piece. The script, rich with Slavonic irony, combines the concision of Chekhov, the absurdity of Kafka and the truth-telling of Havel. One actor performs many roles with understated virtuosity. Try to catch this engaging piece whilst it’s here.

theSpace @ Symposium Hall, until 12 Aug.
tw rating 3/5 | [Alan Cranston]