The first ever UK staging of one of Russia's most frequently performed plays A Warsaw Melody opens in London this week. Written by Leonid Zorin in 1967, it was staged some 4,000 times in its first year. "It's almost a contemporary Romeo and Juliet," says its London-based Russian director Oleg Mirochnikov, who is also a top Russian dialogue coach, who worked with the cast of X-Men: First Class and World War Z. "I think a lot of British theatre companies don't look beyond Chekov. Maybe its a lack of curiosity."
Set during the heyday of the Soviet Bloc, it tells the story of a relationship between a Russian boy and a Polish girl, when marriage was forbidden between the Soviet citizens and foreigners.
"Perhaps the political background of the play is not as tangible, but it's a director's choice, because it has all the ingredients of a dramatic love story."
As former acting coach at London's Drama Centre, Mirochnikov taught Michael Fassbender, Russell Brand and Tom Hardy. This cast includes Oliver King and Emily Tucker, who also both trained with him. This is the first show from Belka Productions whose aim is to create productions of Russian texts rarely shown to British audiences.
'A Warsaw Melody', Arcola Theatre, London E8 (www.arcolatheatre.com) until 28 April