Traverse Breakfast Plays: (in search of) Tomorrow - This Elephant Speaks Ukrainian
Natalia Vorozhbyt, translated by Sasha Dugdale
The Traverse Breakfast Plays always feature some of the best writing on the Fringe and this piece from Ukraine is a delight.
Despite running for under half an hour, it manages to be a state of the nation play and also present a tender view of the complicated life of Lesley Hart's Olya, a divorcee with a young daughter.
In a series of short scenes, we see her struggling to choose between a devoted man who loves her and an absent soldier whom she prefers but seems less interested.
Her daughter feels neglected and lives with Granny, who has a jaundiced view of a society that is imploding.
Considering the short running time, a vast amount is packed into a play that will make audience members understand the problems of a nation at war with Russia and possibly the results of contamination at least a little better. They will also meet a cross section of its insecure inhabitants.
One hopes that the work of Natalia Vorozhbyt is taken up by more British theatres as, on this showing, her full-length plays will be both important and rewarding.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher