We Must Live
Reviewed – 9th November 2019
“The comedic abilities of all three actors are phenomenal, finding potential for laughs in every moment”
When you think of stories that are ripe for a clowning-focused, fourth wall-breaking retelling, perhaps Tolstoy’s tragedy Anna Karenina doesn’t spring to mind. But for The Pushkinettes it did, and we should all be very grateful that it did because We Must Live is an absolute treat.
Formed of French, Israeli and Estonian performers, We Must Live sees these three clowns re-enact Anna Karenina ostensibly very seriously, although the knowing smirks that emerge when the audience starts laughing at the mishaps that befall the actors during their performance reveals this to be a gleefully light-hearted exploration of Anna Karenina’s themes of femininity, love, and sexuality through much more comic means, especially as the real-life worlds of the actors start to spill out into the performance.
The comedic abilities of all three actors are phenomenal, finding potential for laughs in every moment, while all having distinct personalities that shine through and make for engaging inter-relationships between them, and a hilarious clash of egos. One instance sees Anna’s soliloquy about Anna’s sexual liberation interrupted so that one actor can present a piece in which she emerges from a bin bag like a chick breaking out of its egg, accompanied by all manner of instruments. Another sees Anna’s journey through the snow turn into a snowball fight comprised of white Primark socks.
Parts such as this where it feels like the show is being derailed in the spur of the moment and you see the actors delight in the chaos they’ve discovered are absolutely glorious and create an atmosphere of pandemonium, albeit one that you feel the performers are in total control of, which makes it all the more delectable. Certain beats feel like they’re milked a little bit too much, and the opening few scenes lacked the freshness that the rest of the show possesses, but We Must Live is mostly a must-see.
Reviewed by Ethan Doyle
We Must Live
Rich Mix as part of Voila! Europe 2019
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