The Guardian 18 May 2023

It must be Saturday because Anna Karenina and her husband, Alexei, are having sex. The act is passionless and mechanical. They are fully dressed, the silk of Anna’s metallic purple gown staying as unruffled as the buttoned-up jacket of Alexei’s uniform.

But they are not the only ones there. Drawing Anna away, first mentally, then physically, is Alexei Vronsky, her handsome younger lover, who turns a tepid bedroom scene into one of bodice-ripping lust. If you want to know why Anna is tempted, this is all the reason you need. Her husband slips out of sight.

Such is the porous nature of Lesley Hart’s full-blooded adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel. Her scenes flow into each other so you can’t see where one stops and the other starts. It gives the staging tremendous energy, bouncing from Petersburg party to rural estate with a pace as restless as Anna’s desires. [READ MORE]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).