Theatre review: Romanovs
Theatre review: Romanovs

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Romanovs, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Mansfield. ★★★ The Russian Revolution is over. The Tsar and his family are dead. But Lenin has a problem: the country is awash with ­people claiming to be ­Romanovs. This ambitious piece of fictional history by Livewire Theatre is set in the asylum in …

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Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Romanovs, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Susan Mansfield.

★★★

The Russian Revolution is over. The Tsar and his family are dead. But Lenin has a problem: the country is awash with ­people claiming to be ­Romanovs.

This ambitious piece of fictional history by Livewire Theatre is set in the asylum in Ekaterinberg, allegedly opened to contain Romanov pretenders and prevent them undermining the new state. Here, a group of disparate individuals have formed themselves into a happy family of Romanovs bearing a striking resemblance to Tsar Nicholas, his wife and children.

They spend their time enjoying the good life as much as their imaginations will allow and acting out episodes from the family history.

Meanwhile, Anatole Levitsky, Lenin’s right-hand man and the institution’s chief inspector, is struggling with his own responsibilities in the new Russia, and three assassins in tattered greatcoats are intent on their own dark purpose.

Although the play is rather sprawling in its scope, there is some strong acting here, and a fascinating theme about the difficulties a country might have coming to terms with catastrophic change.

In fact, the scenario is imagined with such conviction that the audience is left somewhat confused about where fiction ends and truth begins.

theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39) until 22 August / listings

Published in The Scotsman on 20 August 2015

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