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17 September, 2019

A perfectly executed and surprising performance

Going into the theatre, I was aware of the general themes that would be covered – a synopsis noted that Chekhov’s The Seagull and climate change would be the main thematic influences.

The set design was eclectic, involving various old cabinets and classical wind-up toys.

Ultimately, though, I went in with no idea what the show was about.

After a slow and predictable monologue beginning, my expectations were upended in a few ways.

Firstly, the style of Rubin’s performance was eclectic and surreal.

From the animals and marionettes that speak with divine wisdom, to the cheery hostess at the end of the world, Rubin’s characters are ephemeral and conjure a dreamy atmosphere over the performance.

The set design adds to this effect, enabling the performer to move between audience involvement and detachment.

Secondly, Rubin performed with an undeniable intensity that becomes more involving as the show progresses.

Her natural capacity to command a room was one of the show’s greatest strengths and helped to hold my attention despite the subject matter being indirect and difficult to pin down.

Thematically, the show focused on existential dread.

This was developed firstly through a retelling of Chekhov’s The Seagull, and the story of an idyllic world being torn to pieces by ignorance.

Deftly, the show moves between this classical tragedy and an examination of modern anxieties, firstly the Hindenburg disaster, and secondly our failing climate.

I found Rubin’s poetic voice on these anxieties to be incredibly moving, and a startlingly original treatise on disbelief and helplessness in the face of catastrophe.

Please go see this wonderful performance, one of the best and most unexpected I’ve ever seen.