Theatre Review: Beauty Is Prison Time

PUBLISHED: 18:08 12 August 2011 | UPDATED: 13:03 16 August 2011

Beauty Is Prison Time featuring Zoe Mavroudi. Picture: Peter James Zielinski

Beauty Is Prison Time featuring Zoe Mavroudi. Picture: Peter James Zielinski

© Peter James Zielinski, 2009

Disturbing drama about a real Siberian prison where beauty pageant winners gain freedom.

For a good evening out try visiting the friendly and elegantly refurbished Lion & Unicorn pub, above which is a new and stylish performance space run by Giant Olive Theatre Company.

Currently, they are presenting The Gaea Festival - a celebration of international women playwrights, performers, directors and designers. Beauty Is Prison Time, written and performed by Zoe Mavroudi, is a moving, thoughtful and profoundly disturbing piece inspired by a prison in Siberia where, astonishingly, beauty pageants are held for its women prisoners. The top prize is – freedom!

This is the background for a one-woman show which is, at one level, an assertion of the resilience of goodness, love and hope in the most desperate circumstances. At another, it is an ironic commentary on the early ideals and aspirations of the 1917 Russian Revolution. And there are many other levels too. In fact, I came away feeling that there was enough material here for a full-length play with a substantial cast.

The piece is meticulously directed by Terra Vandergaw. Beautifully written, it is a splendid vehicle for actress Zoe Mavroudi with excellent timing and the skills needed to portray moods and emotions of a character undefeated by cruelty and injustice, exploitation and bereavement.

It is performed on a stark, minimal set to evoke sometimes subtle, sometimes raucous, always accurate, pictures in the minds of the audience – which are more powerful, perhaps, than a realistic set.

* Showing at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Gaisford Street, NW5, until Wednesday, August 31.


Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Mon, 14:48

The Star is hosting a bank holiday street party to celebrate a decade since its launch in Bethnal Green Road.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

BBC presenter Zeb Soanes launches children’s books series inspired by his close-up encounter with an Islington fox

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Cally man Dan Storey gave up art at 15 despite loving it. Now 42, he tells the Gazette about his first exhibition, which is running until June.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ahead of their performance at The Dome in Tufnell Park on May 26, frontman Matt Baty discusses the band’s high-energy live shows and funding their forthcoming second album


“I try and do my best to enhance the young person’s capabilities. I’m very focused on their education, their wellbeing and their cultural needs.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now