A Hero of Our Time

5 stars *****

I’ve read the book from which this play is adapted, in the original and in translation. In lists of great Russian literature, Lermontov’s novel, perhaps not so well known in the West as those of Tolstoy or Pushkin, is up there in the top ten. Acclaimed both for its literary merits as well as its poignant comment on the state of Russia and the younger generation, the novel has much to recommend it. This play is better.

While this adaptation (necessarily) omits a few of the episodes from the novel, it brings to vivid life the story of Pechorin, a disaffected young officer re-assigned for transgressions unknown to a spa town in the Caucuses, where he proceeds to cause havoc among his friends in order, it seems, to amuse himself .

Do note, this story is not a happy one, but in this production, it is a powerful one. Each and every character – from the Armenian maid to Pechorin himself – is complete and convincing, and the short slow motion elements used to accentuate various points were brilliantly placed. The soundtrack is an un-intrusive but incredibly effective adjunct to the high emotions, and all is complemented by the beautifully painted silver birches which form the backdrop.

An utterly electric piece of theatre.

Reviewed by Laura

Zoo (venue 124), 17:30 (1hr 15mins – but it felt so much quicker! – Laura)

Until 29th August 2011

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