Kneehigh’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk paints a picture of Chagall’s life

The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.

Emma Rice brings her former theatre company, Kneehigh, to her new home, Shakespeare’s Globe, later this month with its dazzling production of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk which has already scored a hit with audiences at Bristol Old Vic.

Rice directs Marc Antolin and Audrey Brisson as Marc and Bella Chagall in Daniel Jamieson’s evocative play vividly drawn from the early life of the artist Marc Chagall.

The production opened at Bristol Old Vic last week as part of the theatre’s 250th Anniversary season of work. This co-production celebrates the special relationship between Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic which has spanned nearly three decades.

Kneehigh The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk c Steve Tanner Marc Antolin as Marc Chagall

Marc and Bella Chagall were the flying lovers of Vitebsk. Partners in life and on canvas, they are immortalised as the picture of romance. But while on canvas they flew, in life they walked through some of the most devastating times in history.

Marc Chagall was a leading pioneer of modern art whose vibrant, original style evolved against one of the most tumultuous and terrifying periods in history. Chagall and his young wife were swept up in the confusion and brutality of world wars, revolution, ethnic persecution and the murder and exile of millions.

He responded with a radical, original visual style which was both mythic and dreamlike, fusing everyday settings inspired from his home town in Vitebsk.

Daniel Jamieson’s play traces the lives of the young couple as they navigate the Pogroms, the Russian Revolution, and each other in a vigorous staging woven throughout with live Klezmer music from Ian Ross and James Gow inspired from Russian Jewish folk tradition.

Kneehigh The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk  2 c Steve Tanner Marc Antolin as Marc Chagall

Marc Antolin’s credits include The Trial (Young Vic), Taken At Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket, Chichester Minerva), Amadeus (Chichester Festival Theatre), From Here To Eternity (Shaftesbury Theatre), Matilda (RSC Courtyard Theatre, Cambridge Theatre), Singin’ In The Rain and The Music Man (Chichester Festival Theatre).

Audrey Brisson’s stage credits include, for Kneehigh, Dead Dog in a Suitcase & Other Love Songs. Other credits include Secret Cinema (Future Shorts), Midnight’s Pumpkin and The Wild Bride (both Kneehigh), Miss Hedgehog in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Kensington Gardens) and The Elephantom (National Theatre).

The production forms part of Emma Rice’s inaugural season as artistic director at the Globe and initiates a stronger relationship in keeping with Kneehigh’s new status as an associate company to the London venue.


At Bristol Old Vic until tomorrow night.
June 16- July 2, Shakespeare’s Globe
July 5-9, The Nuffield Southampton
July 14-31, The Asylum, Hall for Cornwall, Truro.

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