Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

“Definitely not to miss. An original, unforgettable experience” : five-star critical kick-off

At August 012

Yuri- August 012 , Underbelly Cowgate , August 8, 2016
At August 012 by Yuri- August 012 In marketing it is called first mover advantage. A five star review in a lead Edinburgh publication is every producer's dream. To get it before the first weekend is over is a killer head start.

From “Broadway Baby” 7th August:

“It is not often that a show has me captivated so much before it has barely begun. From the quaint, yet amiable Adele greeting the audience with a mixture of Welsh and heavily-accented English, humorously calling the latter her ‘mother tongue’, Yuri – in spite of its foreign sounding title – immediately conveys a sense of things close to home, and already an invocation of the network of topical issues set to come. It is a play that intricately touches upon national politics and its consequent mediations in our daily lives – particularly when the dreaded Other is forcefully installed in your living room. This production succeeds in soliciting an intellectual response to uncomfortable truths, with a performance of rare intimacy that compels us to recognise our conscious prejudices from which much of the hilarity stems.

“Much of the play’s energy is invested in the incongruity of this new family unit as the couple seeks to understand where each other stands with regard to Yuri, leading to an unpredictable array of emotional scenes that fully showcases the superb range of the actors involved. The genre of the play correspondingly segues from high drama to soap opera musicals, with intermittent touches of burlesque set to simultaneously delight and distract the audience from the painful reality hiding from plain view: that there is no other way to understand Yuri beyond the prism of one’s cultural productions. The couple’s knowledge of Russia and China is demonstrably limited as their poor renditions of the respective countries’ national anthems can testify. This lack of connection with Yuri – whose presence at times is a spectacle of manufactured vulgarity – is not a criticism. The play does not seek any idealistic closures and easy conclusions. Instead it draws attention to what is fundamentally wrong and yet fundamentally human. Empathy stops at the question – ‘Who is Yuri?’ – still unanswered that fittingly ends the play.

“Yuri is undeniably an absolute pleasure to watch, with audience participation a notable feature in soliciting both understanding and complicity – definitely not to miss at this year’s Fringe. An original, unforgettable experience.”

From the Reviewshub 8th August

“This is one of those Fringe plays that defies description. Audience members butter bread, glitter is thrown around, and the stage manager becomes actively involved as everyone tries to work out just who Yuri is? Is he Russian, Congolese, Chinese, or maybe even Welsh? This odd assortment of events offers the basis for an intriguing exploration of nationalism, and just why anyone would bring another person into this chaotic world.

There are some accomplished performances throughout the piece. Carys Eleri as the perpetually teetering on the edge Adele and Ceri Murphy as the initially displaced father Patrick both command the stage with fine performances. It is though Guto Wynne Davies as the titular Yuri who steals the show. His near silent performance is a real treat to watch.

Yuri is often bizarre, frequently hilarious, and always endearing. “

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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