Oleg Denisov: Doublethink
- Marissa Burgess
- 15 August 2018
This article is from 2018.
The personal and political merge in this Orwellian set
Chillingly the most commonly asked question of Oleg Denisov is 'have you been to prison?' Sadly, such a fate is not that surprising when you do stand-up in Russia from a position of opposition to the president. Given how much Russia's politics have isolated it from the rest of the world since the post-communist Glasnost era, this show is not a glimpse behind the Iron Curtain but a peek over Putin's fence.
Doublethink, a title taken from George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 (meaning accepting two contradictory beliefs as correct), is organised into three sections employing further contradictions such as War is Peace, Slavery is Freedom and Ignorance is Strength. As Denisov himself admits, he may have created this structure but he will probably run roughshod over it. Indeed he does, and the effect is somewhat scattershot, jumping about from one topic to the next.
He runs through a set blending the personal and the political. There's the election vote-rigging he observed at a polling station in his old school while he explores his relationship with a patriotic and right-wing father and anti-Semitic grandfather, paralleling the cyclical nature of history. An enjoyable and interesting hour from Denisov, particularly impressive given it's entirely performed in his second language.
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