Where did you see it? The Scoop, it was in a double bill with Around the World in Eighty Days
This was the more adult of two performances, based on Bertoit Brect's 1932 play and translated by Mark Ravenhill it follows the life of a proletarian mother, Pelegea Vlassova (Nicky Goldie) in early twentieth century, pre-Soviet Russiaand her journey (as part of the Dangerous Journeys Season, remember?) through hostility towards her literate son, Pavel (Alistair Hoyle) and his fellow factory workers life of political activism against the factory owners to eventuality becoming one of the leading members of the movement. In an effort to protect her son from Russia's overzealous police she hands out leaflets, though fails to understand why the police are so against what is written on them as she cannot read.
Her son, gets arrested, others are killed and along the way converts her new employer (she is forced to escape to country when the pigs get on to her) to the joys of communism and then attacks religion when her son is killed(her transformation from ignorant, hostile woman who doesn't have enough tea for her son's activists colleagues to bolshevik revolutionary all takes places in an hour and a half.Amazing Oh, and there are songs. Lots of songs. One reviewer, Scott Matthewman said it has this doesn't become Communism: The Musical . It does, in fact the musical element is so unnecessary I do wonder if they had to give Richard Norris, the compsoner, something to do.
It would have worked okay as a straight play. I say okay because it isn't actually that good a play. Apparently it isn't performed that much *Harry Hill side look to camera* There's something totally believable about it but at the same time totally unreal, maybe because of all the songs. I didn't get the mothering instinct from the actress. I didn't feel like Pavel was her son, maybe a wayward nephew she was left in charge of. Even when he dies it feels like she wants to score some points against the Christians bothering her than grieve.
I found the supporting cast far stronger in this than the lead but mainly I left feeling a bit 'meh' maybe because I know how the story ends and that when her beloved Bolsheviks win it isn't a happy ending.