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Fascinating play explored a royal mystery

Members of the cast from Harborough Drama Society rehearse their production of The Anastasia File at the Harborough Theatre. Pictured are Nigel Pierce, Gilly Cullup, Kyle Keal, Julia Mills, Viv Crowther, Peter Christer and Chris Mills.

Members of the cast from Harborough Drama Society rehearse their production of The Anastasia File at the Harborough Theatre. Pictured are Nigel Pierce, Gilly Cullup, Kyle Keal, Julia Mills, Viv Crowther, Peter Christer and Chris Mills.

  • by Susie Bevin
 

Review: The Anastasia File, by Harborough Drama Society

The story of Anastasia has fascinated people ever since the fateful day in 1918 when the entire Russian royal was massacred.

Did Anastasia escape? Was she a refugee who turned up in Berlin in 1920? How did she know all the details of the family and intimate incidents from children’s parties years ago?

Her relations seemed to recognise her, then heard of the enormous fortune in the Bank of England that she would be heir to if she were genuine, and decided to close ranks.

Although DNA tests now seem to have proved that the real Anastasia did die with her family this story still holds us in thrall in Royce Ryton’s play.

Viv Crowther plays Anastasia at many different ages. She is mesmerising.

Nigel Pierce, is the German police Inspector, father and later his son, who believed in her cause and took her to stay with his family.

Emotionally both generations are convinced, but proof is elusive, and these genuinely nice men are continually frustrated.

The play is a series of flashbacks and encounters with family members, and Arthur Aldrich’s direction keeps the action flowing.

Peter Christer, Ginny Gallup, Julia and Chris Mills as well as Christine Hazlewood (who stepped in when Kyle Keal broke her leg) were all excellent in their many different guises.

They immersed themselves in each role in many short scenes, and with the help of superb costumes they transported us in time and place.

Our emotions see-sawed as we believed or doubted, and the whole exotic conundrum made for a most interesting evening.

Susie Bevin

 

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