23 October 2018   |  Last Updated 25-03-2015 08:31

      Russian experts urge Mancunians to watch 19th Century Tolstoy play

      RUSSIAN scholars are encouraging people to see a Manchester theatre's latest production.

      Anna Karenina is currently being performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, and academics from leading Manchester universities have described it as a must-see.

      Tolstoy's Russia has more in common with today's Manchester than you might think

      Although the play is based on Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s 19th Century novel of the same name, the professors say the story remains relevant to the people of Manchester and Salford today.

      Dr Adelina Angusheva-Tihanov, a Tolstoy expert at the Russian department of the University of Manchester, said: “Anna Karenina is not just a 19th Century story; it is a story about entangled human relationships, love, betrayal and divorce.

      “The psychological dimensions of the story are highly relevant for a human being of any century – the doubts, the disharmony, the wish not to harm those close to you but to stay true to yourself.

      “All these things are relevant in the 21st Century as well.”

      She added: “The story is a cultural myth of human integrity – everybody should know what it is about and the theatre offers sometimes the most vivid way to experience it.”

      The play tells the story of Anna, a dutiful wife and loving mother who realises the conventional world she lives in is not compatible with her own romantic desires.

      Men’s adulteries are tolerated whereas Anna finds herself chastised for her single offence.

      Dr Catherine Danks, a senior lecturer on Russian issues at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Tolstoy may be a Russian writer, but his works are world classics that deal with universal themes that are always relevant.”

      Ony Uharia, who plays the title character, and co-star Robert Gilbert, who plays her lover, Alexis Vronsky, have received positive reviews from critics for their performances, with The Guardian’s Alfred Hickling describing their on-stage chemistry as “explosive”.

      Anna Karenina runs until May 2, 2015 at the Royal Exchange Theatre, in St Anns Square, Manchester.

      For ticket information, contact the box office on 0161 833 9833, or visit www.royalexchange.co.uk/bookonline.

      By David Taylor