The Arts

Lenin's Embalmers

Lenin's Embalmers featured image

Reviewed by Paula Citron

Lenin’s Embalmers
Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company
Written by Vern Thiessen
Directed by Geoffrey Brumlik
Performed by David Fox, Martin Julien, Hardee Lineham, Harry Nelken, Steven Ratzlaff, Janine Theriault, James Durham, and Arne MacPherson
Al Green Theatre
Oct. 30 to Nov. 21, 2010

Vern Thiessen’s Lenin’s Embalmers was not treated kindly by my fellow critics. Suffice it to say, I liked the play and the Harold Green Jewish Theatre production. In fact, I liked it a lot.

I have an affection for plays that are droll, intelligent and historical, and with superb actors like David Fox, Hardee Lineham and Martin Julien on board, the clever dialogue just takes off.

The premise is Stalin’s desire to have Lenin’s corpse embalmed to last forever, a symbol of the enduring Russian Revolution. Not even the Egyptians mummies could retain shape and colour, yet since 1924, Lenin’s lifelike remains are there in Red Square for all to see.

The play is about the rise and fall of the two embalmers who figured out how to immortalize Lenin. They were also both Jews, a dangerous thing to be in anti-Semitic and paranoid Stalinist Russia.

Lenin’s Embalmers continues at the Al Green Theatre until Nov. 21. It’s absolutely worth a visit.

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