By Polina Lokhmanenko
Minsk theatre goers have been much impressed by the spectacular Ladies’ Night show, produced by Yevgeny Yershov. It honoured ballet master Galina Shelenkova and was based on a script written by Jacques Collard, Anthony McCarten and Stephen Sinclair, whose works have been staged all over the globe.
At first sight, the show’s plot is simple. A bunch of typical American guys — steel workers by profession — lose their jobs as a result of cutbacks, without any hope of finding new employment. Their depression is of true male character: they go drinking, get into fights and argue loudly with each other. Meanwhile, their wives, learning that their menfolk have lost their jobs, take the children and leave. Every day, the guys gather at their favourite bar, drink beer and discuss how to find a way out of this ‘pit of self-loathing’. From time to time, they look at the job adverts in the papers, with no success.
Eventually they find an advert for male strippers, with entrance tickets costing $200 per person. They soon realise that this could be the answer to their dilemma. Of course, at first, it all seems a joke — a job hardly worthy of brutal steel workers. How can they dance in front of a crowd of excited women? However, life is cruel and, at the end of their tether, they make a vital decision, choosing to take up stripping.
The performance is full of humour and, although its central characters are men, offers women a wonderful opportunity to learn what men talk about when they gather together. The show destroys the classical stereotypes regarding theatre and should appeal to sophisticated theatre lovers and ordinary people alike. The entertainment ends with a surprising strip dance by these expressive and talented actors.
The troupe unites various Minsk theatres, who have the audience crying with joy during the last thirty minutes, despite the men dancing being far from young. In my view, it’s a performance about women, who are so beloved. Their presence in the show is invisible but it’s clear that the men’s actions are for the sake of love.
Belarusian Internet forums for theatre lovers are full of exalted reviews of the show. Those who’ve seen it advise everyone to buy a ticket and speak of going again themselves. No doubt, its success is deserved; it has been in rehearsal for nine months. The premiere took place at Minsk Concert Hall’s Main Hall and was an unprecedented sensation, gathering a huge audience. The show was initially staged in Mogilev and, after success there, was brought to the capital. Below are some reviews from the Internet.
Yulia: This is a wonderful commercial project; everything is of the best, yet without any hint of intellectual pomposity or psychological depth! All is perfect: actors, producers, artists and makeup. The producer deserves the highest praise for his boldness!
Masha: This is the best performance staged in recent times! We are tired of conservative and academic shows, which are boring. This performance gives us fantasy! A new genre has been born before our eyes. Never before have I laughed so much. I feel ease and joy in my soul.
Valeria: I’ve seen much in my life but this is the first time I’ve been treated to such a delicate and ‘tasty’ show in Minsk. Thank you. I think I’d like to go again in a couple of months!