Memorable autobiographical reflection on the chaos of post-communism
This article is from 2016.
Polish Theatre Ireland's engaging solo show blends the personal and the political – with the emphasis firmly on the personal, as thirtysomething Vica (a charismatic Kasia Lech) looks back on her deprived but not unhappy childhood in communist Poland, with only vinegar for sale in the shops and an illicit jar of Nutella bringing unimagined joy.
The seemingly magical arrival of 'freedom' in the late 1980s – heralded only by indecipherable anti-communist songs from her parents – brings a trip to Norway, Barbie dolls, McDonald's, and ultimately confusion and even a longing for the simpler childhood days of limitation and control.
There are moments when Bubble Revolution veers too strongly towards indulgent autobiography, with a failed love affair with an Italian barely sketched in and childhood memories tending towards dewy-eyed whimsy at times. But by the end of what turns out to be a carefully structured show, things turn more serious as Vica is entirely at sea amid her longed-for consumerism and choice.
Lech is a charismatic performer, even if the show's pacing is a little breathless at times, but the production's various elements – video, a box of props, even an authentic Polish sweetie offered on the way in – don't quite hang together with as much meaning as they should. Still, it's a memorable reflection on the capitalist chaos of post-communism.
New Town Theatre, until 28 Aug (not 16), 1.45pm, £9–£10 (£7.50–£8.50).