From the moment you step into the Soho theatre you know this play isn’t going to be your average production, with Polish Rock and Rap blaring from the speakers and the insides of a car centre stage. Charlotte Marshall was in the first night audience of A Couple Of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians, a comedy questioning whether the boundaries of our identities lie in line with the boundaries of our country.
The play tells the story of two foul mouthed characters experiencing the biggest come down of their lives following a ‘Rat, Scabs and Scroungers’ party. Both characters personify this theme – Dzina is a smoking, drinking, glue sniffing pregnant girl with blacked out teeth. A constant presence in the play are her numerous plastic bags filled with broken baskets and other rubbish, which she carries around as if she has no home to take them too. Her companion, Parcha is a fast talking, scruffy looking man with a shell suit and Kazakhstan cardigan he has no recollection of finding. Together the two embark on a road trip in an attempt to return to Warsaw, whilst frequently terrorising the people they meet on their way; from an uptight man who fears he will be murdered but ends up 50 grand richer, to a drunk driver who almost kills them on the treacherous ice. But nothing is quite as it seems, and as the play progresses the truth about the characters is slowly revealed to the audience, as Dzina and Parcha fall further into the realms of insanity.
The industrial corrugated iron set reflects the raw, harsh nature of the script, with piles of rubbish in corners and gravel covering the floor. A mirror at the back of the stage is occasionally revealed allowing the audience a 360 degree view of the action and a feeling of being suddenly a part of the play itself.
Written by Dorota Maslowska, a hugely acclaimed young Polish writer, the play stays true to her controversial style with extremely strong language and comical dialogue that whilst funny, is also often slightly grotesque or makes for uncomfortable laughter from the audience. Dealing with the issues of the danger of being different, A Couple Of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians is a fast paced, intensely acted comedy that twists your perception of what is unfolding before you until the very end.
A Couple Of Poor, Polish-Speaking Romanians runs until 29 March at the Soho theatre.