Skip to main content

Ivan and the Dogs

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
5 stars
Recession-divined poverty destroys lives. Yet the survivor of
post-Communist Russia's 1990s economic meltdown in Hattie Naylor's
devastating solo play - a co-production between ATC and Soho Theatre - suggests there can be the strangest of liberations too. Based on a true story, Naylor's hour-long monologue
tells the harrowing yet appositely heart-warming tale of one
psychologically and emotionally damaged little boy's Dickensian flight
from domestic abuse onto the cold Moscow streets with only two packets
of crisps and a photograph of his mother for comfort.

Before he can be one more statistic, Ivan is taken under the wing of a
white dog and her brood of fellow strays. This pack he runs with become
his new family, developing an unspoken trust as they run the gauntlet
of gangsters, police and more hardened street urchin addicts, who only
confirm to Ivan that all humans are bad.

As related by actor Rad Kaim from the interior of a small raised white
cube that on Naomi Wilkinson's set, lit up by video projections of
canines in motion, might be a cell or a kennel, this remarkable tale
becomes an intensely concentrated glimpse into the brutal joys of
Ivan's former world. Delivered without fuss or histrionics in a low-key
whisper and pulsed by a soundscape by Dan Jones that mixes amplified
Russian language noises off and sounds of abuse with poignant piano
sketches, the effect in Ellen McDougall's flawless slow burner of a
production is both harrowing and mesmeric. This all comes home to roost
once Ivan is put back on civilisation's leash. The dreams he relates of
running wild and free light up his face with memories of a rare time, a
time when he was truly happy.

The Herald, April 25th 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…