FRINGE: Moscow Stations anything but life affirming

Moscow Stations GigCity Edmonton FringeActor Clayton Jevne is so flawlessly believable as a decrepit drunk that you can almost smell the booze on him.

Listening to him talk for 80 excruciating minutes is even worse.

In “Moscow Stations” (Venue 7), adapted from a novel by Russia’s Venedict Yerofeev, Jevne delivers a stellar performance as Venya, a pathetic and completely unlikeable character who’s taking his last subway ride. With a suitcase loaded with booze, he’s determined to make it to Petushki Station, “the end of the line,” and he’s gonna do himself but good, in between massive bouts of run on sentences, rationalizations for his poor choices, random references to early 19th Century German Romantic era writers Goethe and Schiller, the DT’s and finally, alcohol-induced psychoses, known to the lay person as “conversations with angels.”

Given that the playwright lives in a country where the life expectancy for men hovers below 60 due to love of the drink, the subject matter is understandable. What’s unforgivable is how misleading the Fringe blurb is. This bleak work is quite the opposite of “a hedonistic celebration of life.” It’s disingenuous, verging on dishonesty. Had I known what this was really about, I never would have gone. In what universe is watching an alcoholic kill himself via the Ozzy Ozbourne-tested “Liquor is Quicker” Suicide Solution considered “transcendent” or a “celebration of life”?

If you really want to see a “hedonistic celebration of life,” pass on this play and pop over to Whyte Avenue around 2 am this Friday and catch all the action you want – for free.


PICK for the actor

PAN for the play