20 June 2023
Noel Coward Theatre
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Patriots, playing at the Noel Coward Theatre, is an exploration of the political and social history of modern Russia. 1991, Russia is a newly independent country after the fall of the Soviet Union, and influential businessman Boris Berezovsky has his hands in many important assets in the country. From the country’s television network, the national airline, and many global banks, he is close to many of the most powerful institutions in Russia, as well as part of the inner circle of President Boris Yeltsin. He pulls all the strings to benefit himself and his bank account. Berezovsky uses his power and money to elevate Vladimir Putin into the highest position in the country, but this backfires quickly when Putin proves to have his own mind and not be as malleable as Berezovsky had anticipated. Within a few short years he finds himself in exile in the UK, branded public enemy number one of Russia.
Patriots is a dramatic examination of the political landscape of Russia, and how a powerful and incredibly wealthy man fell from grace. The large and imposing stage of the Noel Coward really helps to set the tone for this production, with a simple but effective stage mostly drenched in red tones, aided with the occasional backdrop projection for the dramatic story.
Incredibly strongly acted, bold and intense, it’s a rich story permeated with political tension and a patriotic love for traditional values of the country. While political plays can often feel a bit dry, Patriots goes for the human angle behind the figureheads. Telling the story from Berezovsky’s perspective, it’s compelling and energetic, focusing on the influential businessman’s motives, drawing a captivating narrative that digs into political intrigue and those who pull the strings behind the scenes.
A brilliant play that is not to be missed!