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Posts Tagged ‘Dmitry Krymov’

Another LIFT treat after the somewhat underwhelming The Roof; this time something unique & uber-creative from Russia. This is the first time I’ve seen Dmitry Krymov’s work, but it won’t be the last.

The two loosely linked pieces take place on the Barbican Theatre stage, reconfigured during the interval from wide face-on to audience on three sides. With lots of overhead spots, it’s hot and uncomfortable, but each piece is under an hour and captivating enough to divert you from the conditions.

In the first half, we have the story of the persecution of Russian Jews, with extraordinary imagery using a wall of screens from which things and people emerge. It starts with paint splashed onto the screens and continues with still and moving images. Lo-tech spectacle but brilliant. The second piece is about the treatment of composer Shostakovich under Stalin. We first meet a puppet woman the height of three people (Mother Russia? Shostakovich’s mum?), then a young Shostakovich playing in a rickety wooden piano frame. After censorship, the composer becomes more subservient and we see him honoured, but we also see what this all takes out of him. Towards the end there is an extraordinary ‘dodgem race’ where the cast wheel seven metal pianos, clashing and colliding. The multi-talented performers include beautiful singers who come into their own in the closing scene.

Krymov is an artist and his theatre work is a combination of art installation and movement, with the minimum of dialogue and music. It’s very much a visual experience, but as visual experiences go, it’s thrilling. It conveys the essence of the tragedy of both situations more movingly than words can.

Time to book for his November visit with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, seen in 2012 in Edinburgh & Stratford but not London!

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