“I know you’re scared. You damn well should be… this place is dreadful.”
The extraordinary story of Anna Larina. Punished for being a wife.
We Are The Himalayas is a new work by Mark Langham, presented by Brave New Word Theatre Company, expertly transports audiences into the chaos, tension and heartbreak of the Russian Revolution. The play follows Anna Larina, the wife of the esteemed architect of the Russian Revolution, Nikolai Bukharin as she is celebrated as the loving spouse of the golden child of the revolution, and then betrayed as she is deemed a traitor.
Lead actress Charlotte Chimes gives a breath-taking yet fierce performance as Anna, alongside her counterpart Ben Mathews, whose conviction and intensity brings the Russian figurehead back to life.
Langham’s script writing is finely crafted, guiding audiences through moments of whip-smart comedy to feverish violence. The set design stimulates the claustrophobic gulags which Anna Larina was confined in. The intimate theatre design features a highly minimalistic, industrial set which captures the period in history wonderfully.
Sound and lighting further enhance the immersive theatrical experience, as we hear other prisoners communicating via the pipes.
Other notable performances include that of Steve Corner, who plays Lavrenty Beria as he exposes the duality of Stalin’s rule, through a terrifying portrayal.
Emilia Stubbs Grigoriou exhibits a haunting performance as a prisoner while her cellmate Chelsea Klein provides moments of light and shade through an endearingly witty stage presence.
The play has been shortlisted for the 2019 Patrick White Playwrights award and is an example of the stellar pieces emerging from Australians independent theatre scene today.
Until Jul 21. Fringe HQ – Downstairs Theatre, 28 Bayswater Rd, Potts Point. $25-$30+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.bnwtheatre.com.au
Reviewed by Katherine Rajwar