Gate Theatre, London W11
Opened 20 May, 1991

The Gate's Women In World Theatre season ends with this visit from the Ermolaya theatre company of Moscow (performing in Russian). In an apartment in Tbilisi, Georgia, a quartet of women await the arrival of a Godot-like medium. In his absence they eat, drink, are merry and have altercations; relationships are laid bare, the past is yearned for and the four finally begin to come to terms with their desires and disappointments.

The performance style throughout is one of studio naturalism modulated by the characters consistent self-dramatisations. Elena Silina's character Tika, in particular, comes across somewhere between Edward Albee's Honey and fotherington-tomas, but her fantasising and drunken paeans to Love are offset by the directness of the other three's behaviour: dialogue overlaps, and the two sisters whose apartment provides the setting achieve a rare sense of ease and intimacy. A synopsis is supplied, rather than a running translation: this hurdle notwithstanding, it remains a valuable experience for those with interests outside the British mainstream.

Written for The Independent.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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