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An offer came up for the chance to go and watch Burning doors at The Curve Theatre, to which I responded, and later after work started to get ready to watch what I did not realise would be a whole new experience of theatre-going. The last time I went to the theatre it was to watch a monologue performance which provided humour; burning doors did have elements of comedy in it but overall it was a show that provided a dark reality full of emotion and a political message. It featured Maria Alyokhina, a member of the controversial activist group Pussy Riot.

Photography: ‘(c) Abby Smith’.

Photography: ‘(c) Abby Smith’.

The performance expressed the corruption and hypocrisy of governments but also violence of what is still occurring in the world, which is being silenced by those in power. Inspired by other influential activists and artists, the performance told stories of people in similar positions such as Petr Pavlensky, known for extreme political and expressive art, such as the public cutting-off of his earlobe in protest.

After one hour and forty five minutes, I and those whom I went with were left not knowing what to think. I can say that it was a piece worth watching, but in its artistic and expressive style it is not everyone’s cup of tea due to the subject it is dealing with: there were dark moments within the story that I noticed some members of the audience cringe and shuffle in their seats at.

Photography: ‘(c) Abby Smith’.

Photography: ‘(c) Abby Smith’.

What the piece enabled to do was make you think, consider the message that was being told and the role we have in our society. It opened my mind to a new outlook on life and the issues still being faced in other parts of the world and gain an understanding of what was happening in other areas outside of the UK.

Overall, I would struggle to recommend this to anyone in particular. If you like art cinema and theatre and do not mind reading subtitles – pretty much the whole performance is in Russian – and are willing to go in to watch Burning Doors with an open mind, coming out facing a new view of the reality of the world then this is potentially for you; but again I do warn that not everyone will enjoy this amazing piece of storytelling and may find it disturbing.

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Posted by Abby Smith

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