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Opposite attractions

02 February, 2017 — By John Courtney O’Connor

In rehearsal, Ingrid Miller as wife of Pirogov, Thomas Walker Baron as Piskarev and Charlotte Riedie as Brunette

at Pentameters Theatre

THE Ukrainian-born Russian writer and dramatist Nikolai Gogol has had many of his writings and short stories dramatised, from Diary of a Madman to The Overcoat.

His best-known play, The Government Inspector, was a satirical view of government corruption in Imperial Russia.

The British writer and dramatist Wolf Mankowitz adapted The Overcoat and called it The Bespoke Overcoat, changing its location to London’s East End. The play was later filmed with Alfie Bass and David Kossoff. Nevsky Prospekt is one of Gogol’s lesser-known short stories from Petersburg Tales.

This is its first stage adaptation – by Dan Daniel who also directs the piece which is produced by Léonie Scott-Matthews, and boasts an impressive set design by John Dalton.

The story takes place in the 1830s in St Petersburg. The two main protagonists – Piskarev (Thomas Walker Barron) and Lieutenant Pirogov (Gearoid Kavanagh) meet and stroll through the city streets.

Who was it who said that “strolling was a bourgeois thing”? The two men are opposites – Piskarev a romantic artist, and Pirogov an arrogant military type, married to a long-suffering wife (Ingrid Miller). They are attracted to two women: one a blonde (Merili Hunt) and the other a brunette (Charlotte Riedie) but, alas, everything is not what it seems.

The two men’s experiences with the alluring females is a mix of fantasy and reality.

Gogol’s dark satire is often brutal… The use of accents and a narrator (Michael Dickinson) give the piece a Brechtian quality which works. The dance scenes have a clumsy rawness which helps to create a surreal perspective to this impressive production.

Until February 5
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