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The Little Dressmaker at the Union Theatre

Hilary F Smith

Set in Russia during a time of celebrity, adultery and passion for the unique, this is a creative and emotional story about Olga Ivanovna, an adulteress and artist.

Olga, played by lovely Amy Stratton, is a beautiful and fervid girl who loves to surround herself by creative and exceptional people in the hopes of gaining some of their talent. The story opens with her celebrating her wedding day to the quiet doctor Osip Dymov. From the beginning one can tell their incongruent natures can only lead to unhappiness and misery as foretold by the line of Olga's dressmaker, "...sadness and misfortune sniff at hems that swish too alluringly...".

Soon, Olga is once again swept into her obsessive world of art and theatre, leaving her husband behind as she travels with her friends to far-off lands. There, far from the "honest hands" of her husband, Olga is caught up with a rocky affair with the talented and cruel artist, Ryabovsky (Harry Long). It is here that Olga's life starts to fall apart. In the end, she is left with nothing but her dressmaker and her memories.

Performed in a dark, small space, the actresses and actors of this play light up the room with their zeal for the production. While Stratton's performance at first seems strained and overbearing, she comes into her own as the seasons pass. The men of the production, especially David Laughton, who plays the musician, and Harry Long, playing Ryabovsky, are the true keepsakes of the play. With music haunting and spectacular, the artists of this production have truly worked hard to bring to the stage a play worthy of note.

A tale of adultery and the repercussions, 'The Little Dressmaker' is a good play if not a feel good play. Those who view this play with that in mind will have a thoughtful night with talented actors and a nice glass of merlot.

• At the Union Theatre, 204 Union Street, until Saturday 11 March.

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