From Russia with No Love – Edinburgh Festival Fringe, PBH’s Free Fringe

Reviewer: Tom Ralphs

Writer: Olga Pavlova

Olga Pavlova doesn’t have a great deal of love for her home country or the people, particularly the men, in it. Not that she’s any more enamoured with the men in most of the countries she’s lived in since leaving Russia either. It’s easy to see why from this 50 minute Fringe debut.

After confirming that a lot of the negative perceptions of Russians are true, she turns her attention to the ones that aren’t. By both confirming stereotypes – as a Russian she thought that Leaving Las Vegas was a love story rather than being about alcoholism – and also getting frustrated when they’re applied to her, you get the sense of an unrelenting but still slightly optimistic cynic.

Much of the material is based on her personal experiences, but these are not unique to being Russian. Common themes such as whether there is something wrong with you if you are over thirty and single, will strike a chord with anyone who has returned to a small town home after a long time away.

Reflections on topics such as attractive women from eastern countries heading west to find partners, while unattractive men from the west head in the opposite direction, add a more observational level to the comedy, but on the whole the material works on the quick set-up and punchline style of delivery rather than diving deeper into topics and coming to any big conclusions.

It’s a good introductory set with only a few jokes that miss the mark, and a lot of potential for the future.

Runs from 14 to 29 August 2021, except 23 August 2021 | Image: Contributed

The Reviews Hub Score

Strong debut set from Russian comedian

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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