Theatrical Review - I Miss Communism
"I Miss Communism.It's about a woman coming of age.it's about religion.It's about war.It's about Oliver Twist."
A NATURALISED US citizen since November 2002, Ines Wurth remarked to her boyfriend one day that she missed Communism. Out of that chance remark some four years ago has grown this remarkable one-woman show, co-written with Mark Soper.
From an early age she loved the Lionel Bart musical, Oliver. Oliver Twist (Mark Lester) was her secret boyfriend. Yugoslav State television regularly broadcast Oliver as a lesson on the evils and inequalities of Western capitalism. Young Ines identified with Oliver.
She grew up in Tito's Yugoslavia in a big house with nine other families and her mum and grandma. She loved her grandma but was a bit afraid of her mum. Nana was like Nancy. She liked Nancy. Her mum was a bit like Fagan. When her mum thought she had done wrong she was locked in a damp, dark cellar as a punishment.
When locked in her cellar, Ines comforted herself in the dark with an Oliver made from rags. She would sing Where is love? and other songs from the movie and vow to get out of the house, out of Yugoslavia and find freedom.
This story is at times sad, at times funny and even inspirational as she recalls her life growing up in Tito's Communist paradise, her move to the USA and her run-in with the Los Angeles police over differing approaches to childcare.
After her mother hurt herself in a nasty fall, Ines returned to a changed homeland. Post-Tito Yugoslavia had fallen apart. War had broken out between Serbia and Croatia. Ines, a Croatian, found herself travelling from Greece on a train through Serbian territory.
Ines holds her audience full attention. We laugh, we cry, we're with her all the way. And the songs... There are numbers from Oliver, a song, I'm a Communist based on All that Jazz from Chicago and a rousing jazzy version of the old Red standard The Internationale.
This review was of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival run of I Miss Communism. The one woman show is touring Britain and Ireland during 2006
- Reviewed by David Kerr