Tag Archives: Basia Binkowska


Intruder | Intruz


VAULT Festival




“There’s a lot packed into this sixty five minute show, and it will make you think”


Polish actor Remi Rachuba gives a high octane account of his early experiences teaching English in his one man show Intruder/Intruz. The most important part of this story, however, is not that Rachuba goes to Scotland to be a teacher, but that he wants to come to Scotland to follow his dream of becoming an actor. Such a circuitous route into the acting profession is, as might be expected, fraught with pitfalls. Rachuba, to his credit, manages to present this tale in a way that is by turns, funny, horrifying and ultimately uplifting.

Intruder/Intruz begins, after a comic lesson in Glaswegian slang, with a violent mugging. What follows is a non-linear telling of Rachuba’s attempts to report the crime against him, and participate in restorative justice against his attackers. Switching rapidly between scenes set in Glasgow, Warsaw, and Edinburgh, among others, Rachuba presents us with a play about a man who refuses to be beaten down even when he is being beaten up.

Intruder/Intruz is an unusual piece because it is told in English, Polish and Glaswegian. Rachuba is obviously fluent in all three—no mean feat. This fact is important because Intruder/Intruz is not just a drama about an English teacher struggling to teach in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and about a series of attacks, both physical and linguistic, upon him. Audiences might be forgiven for thinking that the Intruder in the title is just a reference to Rachuba’s attackers, and the phobias that threaten his psychological well being after the event. But Intruz has another meaning as well. That of the intruder—an unwelcome immigrant—arriving in a foreign land. Intruder/Intruz is an eye opening account of the violence that immigrants have to reckon with, as they move to a different country to pursue a dream. There’s a lot packed into this sixty five minute show, and it will make you think.

Intruder/Intruz is also not the most accessible of shows unless you are, like its creator, fluent in English, Polish and Glaswegian. If you aren’t, quite a few of Rachuba’s words are going to be lost because there are no subtitles to help. It’s hard to tell from moment to moment where you are in time in the story, as Rachuba switches with breath taking speed from present to past and back again. He is an engaging performer, and director Marcus Montgomery Roche makes the most of the space at the Network Theatre. But the threads of Rachuba’s narrative bend and weave until suddenly, without much warning, you’re at the end. The individual scenes in Intruder/Intruz, such in Rachuba’s classroom with his special needs students; his acting audition; his encounter with a student in a Polish casino before an important English test, are memorable—and wryly humorous. These moments of comedy contrast vividly with the violence that is at the heart of this piece. And there are also moments when you wonder how Rachuba could ever summon up the courage to return to the places where he was under such constant attack.

If you’re looking for a solo show that is distinctively different, and you don’t mind a linguistic challenge—you will find Intruder/Intruz well worth your time. It is an energetic show from an actor who left Warsaw and came to Glasgow to realize his dream.


Reviewed on 28th January 2023

by Dominica Plummer

Photography by Robin Mitchell


Vault Festival 2023


Other shows reviewed at VAULT Festival:


Caceroleo | ★★★★ | January 2023
Cybil Service | ★★★★ | January 2023


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Love and Other Acts of Violence


Donmar Warehouse

Love and Other Acts of Violence

Donmar Warehouse

Reviewed – 15th October 2021



“it’s essential to remind ourselves that theatre isn’t just about feel good musicals and revivals of the classics”


Cordelia Lynn’s new play, Love and Other Acts of Violence, is an unsettling look into how intimate relationships can be haunted by the past. In Lynn’s hands, it’s a clever premise. It’s multi-layered, complex—and yet, predictable in its unraveling. It looks back into the past and—just as unsettling—suggests a bleak future which, at this time of writing, doesn’t seem all that impossible. It is a timely reminder how quickly educated, civilized communities can be destroyed in a moment, if malign forces converge to set them against one another and tear them apart. Even more heartbreaking are the fates of the people caught in the middle. People just trying to live their own lives, to be true to their own cultural values, and not get drawn into fights that mean nothing to them.

It helps, then, to see the contemporary relationship between a Jewish physicist/Her and a poet of Polish descent/Him in this play as—broadly speaking—a series of echoes from the past that destroyed Her’s family in 1918 in what had just become Poland. We don’t learn the details of this past tragedy until the lengthy epilogue of the play, but Lynn sets about creating the inevitable revelations from the very first encounter between this ill-matched pair. He’s the idealistic firebrand at a party, invading her space as he rants passionately about poorly paid workers at the university where she is a graduate student. He notes with disdain the nice flat that he has snooped around during the party, and makes some unflattering comments about the likely owner. It turns out that it belongs to Her, the woman he is trying so hard to impress. Luckily for Him, and not so luckily for Her, she’s also kind, sensitive and intelligent, willing to forgive. This dynamic sets up the encounters that follow, becoming more intense, and violent, as the pair become lovers, then partners. The audience can only wonder why she doesn’t walk away. It’s painful to watch. And that is the point.

If we expect Lynn to stop there, however, Love and Other Acts of Violence has a couple more surprises for us. The first is a trip to a harrowingly imagined future, as the couple’s relationship deteriorates. At every point, the relationship echoes the slow, but insidious erosion of civil rights in the world around them, and hints of civil war. And then, in a magnificent moment, a coup de théâtre indeed, Basia Bińkowska’s bleak set converts from a bare space in the twenty-first century British Isles, to a meticulously detailed room in twentieth century L’viv (also Lwów, or Lemberg). In the epilogue, we see how events playing out during a struggle between Poles and Ukrainians for a small piece of contested territory sets the stage for the relationship we have just witnessed. Powerful, and tragic, stuff.

The newly refurbished Donmar Warehouse is a good place for a play like this. The austere brickwork and stark lines of the auditorium focus our attention squarely where it should be—on the stage, and the actors. Tom Mothersdale (as Him/Man) has the thankless task of playing the unsympathetic protagonist, and it’s to his credit that he goes for it so unstintingly. It’s easy to sympathize with Abigail Weinstock’s Her, but there’s not much for her to do except to react to His goading in the first part of Love and Other Acts of Violence. Baba (the role she takes on in the epilogue) is in some ways, a more interesting, nuanced role, and Weinstock makes the most of the opportunity. Richard Katz as Tatte is the charming, yet dolefully prescient father in the epilogue, who explains to his daughter why they have not taken the opportunity to escape to America. Director Elayce Ismail’s assured direction holds the play together, and sets the stage for each feature of this production to shine. I’ve mentioned the brilliant set design, but the sound (Richard Hammarton) and lighting (Joshua Pharo) are also noteworthy. And although there is no dramaturgy credit, the programme notes by Professor Michael Berkowitz are an absolutely essential part of understanding how this complex play fits together.

While a play like Love and Other Acts of Violence might not be everyone’s idea of how to spend a Friday night in the theatre, it’s important to remind ourselves that theatre isn’t just about feel good musicals and revivals of the classics. There are times when playwrights have to be the Cassandras of their generation, and fortunately for us, Cordelia Lynn knows how to rise to the challenge. I urge you to see this show.


Reviewed by Dominica Plummer

Photography by Helen Murray


Love and Other Acts of Violence

Donmar Warehouse until 27th November


Previously reviewed this year by Dominica:
Public Domain | ★★★★ | Online | January 2021
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice | ★★★ | Online | February 2021
Adventurous | ★★½ | Online | March 2021
Overflow | ★★★★★ | Sadler’s Wells Theatre | May 2021
Stags | ★★★★ | Network Theatre | May 2021
The Sorrows of Satan | ★★★ | Online | May 2021
Doctor Who Time Fracture | ★★★★ | Unit HQ | June 2021
In My Own Footsteps | ★★★★★ | Book Review | June 2021
L’Egisto | ★★★ | Cockpit Theatre | June 2021
Luck be a Lady | ★★★ | White Bear Theatre | June 2021
Wild Card | ★★★★ | Sadler’s Wells Theatre | June 2021
Starting Here, Starting Now | ★★★★★ | Waterloo East Theatre | July 2021
The Game Of Love And Chance | ★★★★ | Arcola Theatre | July 2021
The Ladybird Heard | ★★★★ | Palace Theatre | July 2021
Rune | ★★★ | Round Chapel | August 2021
Roots | ★★★★★ | Wilton’s Music Hall | October 2021
The Witchfinder’s Sister | ★★★ | Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch | October 2021
Rice | ★★★★ | Orange Tree Theatre | October 2021


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