Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh
Who is Yuri? It’s a good question and one that lies at the heart of this entertaining and unsettling farce from August012, in association with Chapter Arts Centre and the National Theatre Wales. Maybe he’s exactly what he appears to be – a teenage Russian orphan, discovered by Adele (Carys Eleri) sitting amidst the pretty Christmas things in Lidl, all ready to be taken home. Or perhaps he symbolises the inevitable fears and anxieties visited upon any couple when they become parents for the first time, bringing a demanding, wordless stranger into their home and relationship. In any case, Adele and her husband, Patrick (Ceri Murphy), have been wanting a child for ages and now, it would seem, they have been blessed with one. But Yuri (Guto Wynne-Davis), is challenging to say the very least…
Despite being staged in one of the scuzziest venues on the Fringe, Yuri is a warm, absurd and, in many respects, rather scary play, that exerts a powerful pull on the audience’s emotions. The cast work hard to embody their characters – and do a fabulous job of it. There is a certain deftness at play here, which makes the complex issues at the heart of this piece seem somehow light and whimsical. It’s fascinating to watch. We might not always be entirely sure of what’s going on, but by golly, we aren’t bored for one moment.
This is a challenging piece that’s well worth seeking out.
Philip Caveney and Susan Singfield