Russian theatre troupe perform experimental Pelevin play in London

25 February 2014

An experimental play by celebrated writer Victor Pelevin will premiere at London’s Tabernacle arts centre this week as part of Maslenitsa, the Russian festival that marks the arrival of spring. The play, Crystal World, based on Pelevin’s eponymous short story, has been produced by Moscow-based theatre company Le Cirque De Charles La Tannes who are known in Russia for their innovative shows such as Cops on Fire, the first Russian “hip hopera”, which fused contemporary opera, police drama and gangsta rap.

Set in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) in the autumn of 1917, the play presents the Russian Revolution through Pelevin’s signature phantasmagorical lens. The city is teeming with red soldiers trying to escape the tedium of their lives through drink and drugs. It all goes wrong when two guards accidentally prevent Lenin from making his way to Smolny — a stronghold of revolutionary forces — thereby wreaking havoc in the camp and changing the course of history.

Pelevin, the acclaimed writer of Oman Ra and The Life of Insects, has won numerous literary awards in Russia including the Russian Little Booker Prize and the Russian National Bestseller. Crystal World, which is set to original music by Russian electronic musician Mujuice, will run on 25 and 26 February.