Traverse Breakfast Plays: This Elephant Speaks Ukrainian, Review

Rating (out of 5)
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Traverse Theatre
Rosie Kellagher (director), Natalia Vorozhbyt (writer), Sasha Dugadle (translater)
Ewan Donald (Yura) Kay Gallie (Galya) Lesley Hart (Olya) Anne Lacey (Tanya) Kirsty Mackay (Nastya) Keith Macpherson (Andre/Newsreader)
Running time

The Traverse Theatre is again staging its popular Breakfast Plays which this year features new writing by six international playwrights, all of whom were asked to respond to the word ‘tomorrow.’ A diverse selection of cultures are being represented from round the globe – Turkey, Canada, Egypt, China, Scotland and the Ukraine. This morning’s play “The Elephant Speaks Ukrainian” was by the prolific Ukrainian writer Natalia Vorozhbyt.

There is no staging at the breakfast plays – only chairs on which the actors sit and read the scripts on their laps - which of course is a challenge. There were six actors involved in this play which revolves around issues of love, unrequited love, a distant relationship with a daughter and war. It was a quirky script, and Vorozhbyt had incorporated a lot of humour.

Much reference though was made to the war in Ukraine. Olya, the mother, played by Lesley Hart who acted the part really well considering she was reading from a script, was in love with a serving soldier Andre. The grandmother and friend avidly watch events of the war on the news. And as elephants are renowned for having good memories – it’s a key to their survival - perhaps having ‘elephant’ in the title is a metaphor for the people of that country not being able to forget the devastation that has been caused by this war.

It was a provocative, entertaining play.

Til 30 August (not 24), 9am. £14 which includes tea/coffee and a breakfast roll