An excellent odd couple of short plays
By Myron My
With 2Short Russians, 5Pound Theatre has brought two very different plays to the stage of The Owl and the Pussycat.
First we have the Australian premiere of ‘Vodka, Fucking and Television’ by one of Russia’s newest playwrights Maksym Kurochkin, which is followed by Anton Chekhov’s classic ‘The Bear’. With a very capable cast comprised of Jack Beeby, Clare Callow, Susannah Frith and Dmitri Pronin, each play offers a very different experience for the audience.
In the first, our modern-day Hero (Beeby) is a struggling writer who blames three things for holding him back in life: namely, vodka, fucking and television. These three vices (played by Frith, Callow and Pronin) physically manifest, and plead their individual cases as to why they should not be discarded. An impressive entrance by Fucking provided a few gasps from the audience and the use of different forms of media to represent Vodka and Television was quite unique and kept engagement levels with the audience high. Beeby handles his conflicted character with great aplomb and provides significant insight into the problems facing man in the modern age.
With its more classical backdrop, ‘The Bear’ is a farcical tale about a grieving widow, Popova (Callow), and Smirnoff (Pronin) the man who has come to collect his debt. The direction by Jason Kavanagh is quite different to the earlier play with some hilarious monologues and wonderful play with silences between characters.
Pronin triumphantly brought down the house with his fiery Smirnoff and Frith was perfect as the exasperated and mourning widow Popova. Their interactions together were a joy to watch and their comic timing was spot on. Beeby as Popova’s manservant Luka displays great versatility as a young actor and is definitely one to keep an eye on in future.
5Pound Theatre has returned for their 2013 Melbourne season with an impressive production in 2Short Russians and if they continue to provide plays and performances of this calibre, it is going to be a fantastic year for them.
Venue: The Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St, Richmond
Season: Extended until 14 June | 7:30pm, Sat 2:00pm
Tickets: $25 Full | $20 Conc