Review - The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk at Royal & Derngate, Northampton

The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk

I have to admit that even though I pored over plenty of material for this show, I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to be in for when I went to see The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.

Essentially a two hander, this is a play about artist Marc Chagall and his wife Bella about how they got to know each other and how their relationship flourished despite the troublesome environment and times they were in.

All I knew was having see Kneehigh's brilliant take on the romance story Brief Encounter that I suspected I would be in for an interesting and enjoyable evening.

With just two actors carrying the 90 minute piece of theatre, it takes a tremendous amount of skill in terms of the writing and characterisation to keep the attention of the audience. Fortunately Marc Antolin and Daisy Maywood are both on the right side of eccentric to be different and enjoyable. It's a pleasure to see the carefree love that the characters have for each other so much so that the audience is kind of swept along with the sheer joy.

Indeed the blossoming and the love in their relationship enables us as an audience to get through the more difficult moments of their relationship in a way which feels both real and truthful.

The set is also incredibly clever, interesting to look at, but never distracting the audience from the journey that Marc and Bella Chagall go on, depicting both the different times and places that Marc and Bella lived their lives.

Combining music, choreography and excellent writing, this is a triumph and much praise deserves to be given to Daniel Jamieson's real feeling script and Emma Rice's exceptional direction.

The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk is quirky and unusual in its staging but at the heart of it is a love story which is so wonderfully sweet to watch. So much so that it would move even the most staunchest of the audience.

The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk can be seen at Northampton's Royal & Derngate until Saturday April 28. Tickets for the show can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or by visiting www.royalandderngate.co.uk.