DMITRY, 5 Stars

The Marylebone Theatre
29th Sep to 5th Nov 2022

“Schiller’s prescient play, unfinished at the time of his death, offers a revelatory perspective on the current crisis on Europe’s eastern borders making Peter Oswald’s (resident playwright at Shakespeare’s Globe under Mark Rylance) endeavour to pick up the baton timelier than ever. This world premiere will be directed by the worldrenowned former Artistic Director of the Young Vic Tim Supple, (National Theatre; Royal Shakespeare Company; Donmar Warehouse), who returns to the London theatre scene after 15 years of international work to bring this urgently relevant piece to life.
In 1605 in Moscow, ruthless tsar Boris Gudonov, former chief of Ivan the Terrible’s secret police, rules through fear and oppression. In Poland, a formidable young opponent – Dmitry – appears claiming to be the missing son of Ivan the Terrible and the rightful tsar of Russia. The Polish army, fuelled by the fear of the Russian threat, takes up Dmitry’s cause to march on the Kremlin to capture the throne. This poetic drama cuts to the heart of 21st century politics through a rich imagining of Eastern Europe and Russia’s shared history.
Marylebone Theatre, originally known as Steiner Hall, has recently been beautifully refurbished. A short walk from Baker Street, the theatre will produce its own work as well as receive incoming companies. The theatre intends to carve out a special place on the London cultural scene as a beautiful and grand but intimate setting. Patrons of Marylebone Theatre include Academy Award-winning actor Sir Mark Rylance, director of the English National Opera Martyn Brabbins, and the esteemed cross-bench peer Baroness Usha Prasher.

Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars

Intrigued to visit the new refurbished and rebranded Marylebone Theatre, it certainly didn’t disappoint! Grand and palacial it feels very cultural with it’s book shop and library inside the foyer leading to the bar and cafe. But £12 for a glass of wine that tastes like acid is a sharp jolt that this venue is pursuing a high-profile clientelle who may prefer the champagne over the house white.

The former Rudolf Steiner House has been converted into The Marylebone Theatre and this is its inaugural production under the new leadership of artistic director Alexander J Gifford and esecutive producer Adrian Locher. Gifford’s vision is to “bring something powerfully new out of the deep well-springs of Steiner’s genius whilst simultaneously harnessing the best practices and professional talent of British theatre.” Whatever that means.

Their opening production is the premiere of DMITRY. And what a splash down epic production this is!

The huge set design has lattice work wooden ceiling, wooden walls with arrowslit windows (all cleverly collaborating with the lighting team to allow light beam access onto the performance space), a sliding rear wooden wall and a large table which can track up and down stage to become different surfaces such as a podium, table, or altar. All solid build, high quality and very impressive!

Lighting fixtures from all angles providing sunlight, stained-glass window effects, side-light, and many scenes that look like Rembrandt paintings. Beautifully crafted throughout the production.

Sound effects that provide battle fields, outdoor nature, cavernous reverb, musical transitions, zoned sound sources – all done without exposing obvious microphones and similar garb.

With a cast of 17 plus a child actor playing the younger Dmitry, this is a cast size so rarely seen in today’s new theatre. Each actor playing more than one role with costume changes to reflect this. One can only imagine the National Theatre Hire department must have been emptied. A BBS Period drama would have been proud of this display.

But with all the fabulous production qualities brought into this theatre, there is one huge problem at the core. The very interesting story has been drawn out into a 3 hour evening. The writer seems to believe that the more words used the better. Why the Director and Producer haven’t pruned the text is beyond me. At 90 minutes 1st half and 70 minutes 2nd half, it is just interminable. Someone sat in front of me brought a pack of sandwiches. I was horrified when I saw her open her sandwiches and start to eat them at the top of the show. However, 2 and a half hours later I wish I’d brought sandwiches, a flask of coffee, my pyjamas and a sleeping bag.

This is a wonderful magnificent piece of theatre, ideal for the most patient of audiences.

Photo Credit: Ellie Kurtz

Creative Team

Writer Peter Oswald
Director Tim Supple

Designer Robert Innes Hopkins

Lighting Design Jackie Shemesh

Sound Design Max Pappenheim

Movement Director. Mike Ashcroft

Casting Helena Palmer


Korela Piotr Baumann
Dmitry Tom Byrne

Marina Aurora DawsonHunte

Odowalsky James Garnon

Mnishek/ Razin Mark Hadfield

Patriarch Ammar Haj Ahmad

Romanov Daniel Hawksford

Maria Poppy Miller

Solitkov Oleg Mirochnikov
Dolgoruki/ Alexei Jonathan Oliver
Petushok Clifford Samuel
Olga/ Lady Kirkbright Phoebe Strickland
Godunov/ Abbot Daniel York Loh
Ensemble Lev Levermore

Instagram @marylebonetheatre
Twitter @MaryleboneTHLDN
Facebook @MaryleboneThea