Review: From Russia With Lana

Unclear characterisation holds back sharp and satirical intent

comedy review (adelaide) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 25 Feb 2024
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From Russia with Lana image courtesy of the artist

Svetlana’s sharp blonde wig and tight leather pants fit the bill of a Russian bride well and Lana is all too aware of what she’s gained by selling herself to a westerner.

Although satirical in its nature, From Russia With Lana seems to lack the quick wit and scathing scrutiny of its content to be successful. Perhaps a more thorough understanding of Russian history as an audience member would be beneficial.

There is a recurring lilt to her stories which is quite classic for comedians earlier in their careers and although Maroussia Vladi herself is trained in theatre and clown, Svetlana as a character comes across monotonous, almost bored of the stories she’s telling.

It’s hard to tell whether this is a decision made to create Lana as a character or if it is a lack of Vladi’s own stand-up experience. If a character defining choice, then Lana seems one-dimensional. It is hard to warm to her as the harsh, ambitious Russian just trying to get ahead in life.

Ultimately it feels as though Vladi has genuine history and generational trauma to explore within her work, but the cold over-characterisation alienates the audience and makes empathy and understanding difficult to find.


From Russia with Lana, High Spirits Bar, until 15 March