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The Peed-upon Armoured Personnel Carrier

Oksana Grytsenko, Translated by John Freedman
Finborough Theatre
Finborough Theatre
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The Peed-upon Armoured Personnel Carrier

Six minutes doesn’t sound very much, but it is long enough to sketch in the experiences of Ukrainian villagers during the first 10 days of the Russian occupation.

In the villagers’ language, this was actually the Goatish occupation, since in rural Ukraine there has long been minimal respect for their bullying neighbours from across the border.

Where you might expect fear and panic, as represented by the anonymous resident observer played by Rebecca Hands-Wicks, these long-suffering individuals tend towards the matter-of-fact and ironic.

As such, they are rather like hapless, latter-day versions of characters from the stories and plays of Nikolai Gogol.

Somewhat unexpectedly given that the home team has no weapons and little idea what is going on, the final impression is of a group that will endure.

They will calmly make do and pretty much ignore for as long as necessary both the war that is going on around them and the presence of an occupation force scared to leave their armoured vehicles.

This second rehearsed reading of the #FinboroughFrontier season, directed by David Mildon and seemingly making accomplished use of an auto prompt, may be short but it contains the power to remind us that life in Ukraine has been changed in the short term for millions of innocent people and may never be the same again.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher