Kursk (4 stars)

This article is from 2009.


Awesome voyage to the bottom of the sea

Anyone who caught this immersive drama set aboard a submarine at London’s Young Vic in June were knocked out by the scope of the staging. Given that so much Fringe theatre is necessarily scaled down in terms of sets, costumes and technical jiggery-pokery, Edinburgh crowds are going to be doubly awed by Kursk.

The show is based on the real-life maritime disaster in 2000 that saw the titular Russian nuclear sub sink to the bottom of the Barents Sea following an onboard explosion which killed most of the crew and left two dozen sailors trapped in an airtight compartment. The piece, a collaboration between audio theatre company Sound & Fury and playwright Bryony Lavery, is set aboard a fictional British sub that’s tracking the Kursk when it goes down. The two-tier recreation of the sub’s interior houses both promenade stage and audience seating, and the degree of detail is nothing short of cinematic.

All of which would have been only as entertaining as a fairground ride were it not for Lavery’s astute dramatising of the professional and personal problems faced by the British submariners. Hollywood’s Hunt for Red October has got nothing on this experience.

University of Edinburgh Drill Hall, 556 6550, until 29 Aug, 10.30pm, £10 (£7.50).


  • 4 stars

In collaboration with Bryony Lavery. On the fraying front-line of the cold war a submarine is on patrol silently shadowing its target. Inspired by the Russian submarine disaster of August 2000.

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