Donkey Heart at the Old Red Lion
Relationships, fights and family issues with a historical background – the premiere of brilliant Russian comedy Donkey Heart was held at the Old Red Lion Theatre this weekend. Set in a flat in central Moscow in the present day, it tells the story of a Russian family, their guests and lovers, and the importance of trust.
Written by Moses Raine, following earlier works The Survival Handbook and Shrieks of Laughter, this play asks what the modern Russian stands for after communism. Over the years the country’s history has been hidden, but now it’s coming back to the surface.
Donkey Heart is a very animated comedy that flows without interruption, keeping the audience enthralled. The set is old-fashioned, with ancient furniture, and the lack of stage conveys a warm, familiar and cosy atmosphere. There is a lot of movement that keeps the attention of the audience until the very last minute – the actors walk up and down the room, and open and close doors constantly. The story is unpredictable, the scripts funny and easy to understand.
The play is made up of two acts and the music – sometimes pressing, sometimes calm – works well as an accompaniment between the different scenes. The cast, composed of nine actors, is outstanding. Most of them are quite young but with a lot of experience in theatre and television: their use of the Russian accent gives the dialogue an edge. Scenes of fighting and emotional intensity are surprising in their realism.
Donkey Heart is a brilliant comedy, full of laughs, but with a strong meaning. Don’t miss it.
Donkey Heart is at the Old Red Lion Theatre until 31st May 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.