Digital review: Naive Experiments pt 1 (AIFF/TSS)

Based on Erlend Loe’s novel Naive. Super, this show runs 100 minutes and is a production of the ProEnglish Theatre of Ukraine.

The story of HE, a young man who breaks away from routine to deal with the challenges of life, Naive Experiments pt 1 is an exercise in surrealism and positivity, populated by crazy characters.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, and it could do with captions to make the words clearer, but Alex Borovenskiy’s direction is assured and inventive, bringing out the hope and comedy in the piece.

Production photo for Naive Experiments pt 1

The novel on which the show is based, Naive. Super, is a modern Norwegian classic about the meaning of life, and has regularly topped bestseller lists. It covers childhood, time and relativity.

In the show Naive Experiments pt 1, the ProEnglish Theatre of Ukraine make Loe’s text culturally relevant to their own country and preoccupations, while embracing the absurdity of questions like who we are, what we become, and the significance of time.

Visually impressive, this play features strong work from actors Dan Vynogradov as HE, Kateryna Hordiienko as Lise, Alex Pidopryhora as Borre, and Ilya Morseenko as Brother.

Production photo for Naive Experiments pt 1

Being a digital production, you don’t get the full sense of the words being projected behind the characters, and this could have been handled in a slightly different way for a virtual audience.

An ambitious piece that repays attention and certainly displays flair and potential. As with their production of The Book of Sirens, which was part of the International Online Theatre Festival, this company is very much concerned with interpreting source material and making it relevant to today’s Ukraine.

You can watch Naive Experiments pt 1 on Scenesaver or, as part of the Alabama International Fringe Festival through Thornhill Theatre Space’s YouTube channel.


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