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The Tolstoy Tales review at Camden Peoples Theatre London

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The Tolstoy Tales is a series of classic snippets from the famous Russian novelist. The play is bursting with raw existentialist angst and moralist teachings, all framed with strong themes of religion and salvation. The atmosphere is mostly characterised by the darkness of Tolstoy’s books, which rather bizarrely is only briefly lifted towards the end with an unbelievably lame Granny Smith joke.

Credit must be given to the young cast who do not crumble under the expectations that inevitably are linked to a play inspired by a great, and carry the – at times – heavy play, which ploughs on without an interval.

Emma Vane is particularly expressive and her almost over-theatrical style suits this play where strong emotions take centre stage. Richard Anthony also gives a very convincing and natural performance.

The set is interesting and makes creative use of a big roll of paper which is pulled and torn throughout the play, while a few scenes are given an extra dimension as the actors draw and write on blackboard painted walls and the floor .

Although prior knowledge of the classic tales recounted in this play could be helpful, the production also acts as an excellent introduction into the world and gems of wisdom of Tolstoy’s literature.

Production Information

Camden People’s Theatre, London, February 20-March 10

Jodi de Souza
The Humble Theatre Company Limited
Emma Vane, Richard Anthony, Matthew Wade, Marian Elizabeth
Running time
1hr 45min

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