Poem Without A Hero (3 stars)

This article is from 2010

Poem Without A Hero

Holly Strickland

The first stage production of a Russian masterpiece

Translated from the original Russian with a graceful fluidity by DM Thomas this production is a bold step towards furthering the appreciation of Russia’s highly acclaimed 20th century poet Anna Akhmatova by an English speaking audience. Brought to the stage for the first time by Inside Intelligence, and including new verses specially translated by Thomas, Poem Without a Hero is Akhmatova’s most ambitious work. Written and revised over a period of 20 years it draws on her own experiences of a Russia transformed by revolution and war, including the brutal death of two husbands and an only son sent to Stalin’s camps.

Even while her poetry was banned by the Stalinist regime Akhmatova refused to abandon her country and continued to write with haunting beauty about the suffering she witnessed happening around her. The production’s simple staging leaves the emphasis on the poetry and the challenge of this solo portrayal is undertaken with sensitive dignity by Holly Strickland, who despite replacing the originally cast Xanthe Elbrick just days before the production opened delivers an accomplished and emotive performance.

C Chambers Street, 0845 260 1234, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), 3.15pm, £7.50–£9.50 (£6.50–£8.50).

Poem Without a Hero

  • 3 stars

Translated by DM Thomas, including new verses specially translated for this production, this is the first staging of the masterpiece by Anna Akhmatova, Russia's greatest twentieth century poet. Her first husband was shot, her second died in Stalin's camps. Her son spent long years in the same camps. Her poetry was banned…