Andrew Upton’s vigorous new version of Mikhail Bulgakov’s rarely performed masterpiece The White Guard is set in Kiev during the Russian civil war. The Turbin household is sanctuary to a ragtag, close-knit crowd presided over by the beautiful Lena. As her brothers prepare to fight for the White Guard, friends charge in from the riotous streets amidst an atmosphere of heady chaos, quaffing vodka, keeling over, taking baths, playing guitar, falling in love. But the new regime is poised and in its brutal triumph lies destruction for the Turbins and their world.
The White Guard is the third Russian epic to be directed by Howard Davies at the National Theatre in recent years, following Burnt By The Sun and Philistines. Davies’s other NT credits include Gethsemane, Her Naked Skin, Never So Good and The Life Of Galileo.
Conleth Hill, who leads the cast of The White Guard, is a double Laurence Olivier Award-winner, picking up the statuette for his performances in Stones In His Pockets and The Producers.