Tuesday, 23 December 2014

REVIEW - 3 Winters at the National Theatre


IT'S always great to see interesting and absorbing plays with strong female characters be given star billing.
And Tena Štivičić’s new play 3 Winters, now on at the National Theatre's Lyttelton stage, which features three generations of women in one family, is a real treat.
It is set in a townhouse in the Croatian capital of Zagreb and the lives, loves, fortunes, aspirations and dreams of the family who make it their home is told over a period of 70 years.
Indeed, the piece weaves its story through three separate but very important periods of Croatia's post World War Two history - 1945, 1990 and 2011.
The changing political landscape during that time becomes the backdrop against which the family's story is told.
The only constant is the Kos family house in Zagreb and a picture of one Karolina on the wall.
The story begins in 1945 and we see Rose King, her mother, her husband and their new baby move into part of the house where her mother had once been a servant.
By 1990 Rose's daughter Masha has married, she still lives in the house and has two daughters of her own, Lucia and Alisa.
By the time we get to 2011 Lucia is about to get married to some dodgy businessman as her aunt's own marriage dissolves into a horrible end.
Tensions have been building and when Alisa learns that her soon to be brother-in-law has bought the once nationalised house, arguments ensue.
For Lucia this is progress but for Alisa it's greed and especially so when it transpires a neighbour and former boyfriend of Alisa's is about to be evicted from one part of the house as a result.
The action jumps about a bit and as the scenes change there are projected images of some of the news items from each period including some harrowing pictures from the Balkans war.
Brilliantly staged it is an utterly gripping and compelling story - thanks to both great writing and the fine performances from an outstanding cast, dominated by Siobhan Finneran as Masha, Sophie Rundle as Lucia, Jodie McNee as Alisa, Lucy Black as Dunya and Jo Herbert as Rose.

3 Winters is on at the National Theatre until 3 February 2015. Tickets from £15. Visit www.nationaltheatre.org or call the box office on 020 7452 3000.  

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