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Would you jump off the balcony for me? Could you?
Dima is 19. Tomorrow he’ll join the army and go to fight in Chechnya. Tonight he’s trying to have a party in the flat he shares with his drunken Dad.
Lera is 20 and lives in the same block. She reckons she’s won a fortune if she can just scrape together 1000 roubles to buy something from Euroshop in Moscow. Outside the snow starts to fall over the abandoned cemetery.
LADYBIRD Is Vassily Sigarev’s third play produced by the Royal Court. His previous plays were PLASTICINE (International Playwrights Season 2002) and BLACK MILK (Focus Russia 2003). Sigarev won the 2002 Evening Standard Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright.
Cast: Christine Bottomley, Jason Done, Burn Gorman, Anna Madeley, Daniel Mays and Kevin McMonagle.
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Dates in March
|Fri 5 Mar 2004||12:00am||Jerwood Theatre Upstairs|
Sold out Performances
Pictured L to R: Jason Done, Christine Bottomley, Daniel Mays, Anna Madeley.
Photography Simon Annand
“a gripping, genuinely affecting microcosm of low-life Russia today. The performances are blessed with a rare candour and Ramin Gray’s production is full of revealing truth and detail, played out on a design of hideously plausible squalor by Lizzie Clachan that extends to the entrance of the auditorium itself.
Daniel Mays gives a spellbindingly intense performance as Dima, who seems no more than a shaven-headed, violent yob but reveals sudden agonising glimpses of a great soul and the terrible hurt in his heart.
Christine Bottomley is heart-wrenching as pretty Lera, clutching so avidly at straws of hope and putting herself through appalling humiliation to get her hands on the 1,000 roubles.
And there is excellent work, too, from Anna Madeley as the disconcerting Yulka, Kevin McMonagle as the ghost-like drunken dad, Jason Done as the greasily menacing crook, and Burn Gorman, who turns a smack addiction into a grotesquely hilarious comic turn.
It is a play that lingers in the memory as unforgettable as the stench of rancid borscht. Only the glimmer of hope at the end seems false.”
Charles Spencer THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
10 March 2004
“compelling and compassionate piece, excellently served by Ramin Gray’s heartfelt production. In a self-seeking world full of cheap con tricks, Christine Bottomley’s painfully thin, pallid Lera is all poignant optimism, while Daniel Mays’ Dima, despite outbursts of violent frustration, has a deeply affecting gentleness.
As the heroin-addict Slavik, Burn Gorman is hilariously sarcastic, his voice a Johnny Rotten drawl as, jittery with come-down, he picks ants out of the dirty carpet and eats them. And Anna Madeley’s Yulka is a time bomb of nascent sexuality with a shocking sadistic streak. When, eyes glittering, she cruelly dares Dima to throw himself from the balcony, the combined intensity of the production and the writing is almost unbearable. It’s evidence that the fire in Sigarev’s belly is in no danger of going out.”
Sam Marlowe THE TIMES
10 Marach 2004
“As a portrait of youthful desolation, Sigarev’s 90 minute play is grippingly persuasive and Ramin Gray’s direction, like Sasha Dugdale’s translation, is faultless. Daniel Mays excellently conveys the desolate Dima’s sense of wasted potential. Christine Bottomley’s Lera, pinning her hopes on a prize-winning scam, is a touching portrait of a sad dreamer. Anna Madeley as her vampish cousin shows how, when individuals feel politically helpless, they use power for twisted, personal ends.
But the most astonishing performance comes from Burn Gorman as the comatose addict who eventually disappears down a mound of earth: an apt image for a play that suggests that provincial Russia is a cemetery without walls.
Michael Billington THE GUARDIAN
9 March 2004