Wayne's Reviews > The White Guard

The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov
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M 50x66
's review
Jul 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: european-favourites, plays
Read from June 15 to 28, 2011


Going to see the theatrical version of this novel by the Sydney Theatre Company early in July.
LOVED his "The Master and Margarita".
Not expecting anything similar, but am hoping for good writing.

A very vivid recreation of time and place
... 1918 and the city of Kiev facing an attack by a local Socialist warlord
but being betrayed by their protectors, both the German Army and
the White Russian Army.
Meanwhile the Red (Bolshevik) Army lies in wait.
All this through the Turbin Family and their friends
and friendly neighbours...and none of these is without
its Judas figures.
The general and the particular are neatly intertwined because
history is made by individuals,and Bulgakov does it deftly and with
feeling.A tense, moving personal epic.

Tomorrow this will be reduced to a theatrical stage.
Will it be able to take me "there"???

The Day After Tomorrow, so to speak.

I who had read the book and my two accompanying friends who hadn't
all agreed it was often not too good.
A main character was killed off at the end which Bulgakov was controlled enough NOT to do.
And yet he still was able to move the emotions.
A cheap trick these "end-of-the-story" demises.
But this was a rewriting of the play...
why do they DO this today???
As if modern audiences can't cope???
The prosperous Turbin Family lived very poorly in these sets,
because it suited the stagecraft.
The carpet they referred too a few times in the first scene
looked like the bare boards of a poverty-stricken household to me.
Over-acting from some.
Often tedious.
The musical inserts didn't help one bit.
It could have ended several times and weren't we praying for Release.

Cate Blanchette's husband Andrew Upton was partly responsible for the rewriting.
Perhaps totally.
We were told that it was a HUGE success in London.
YAWN !!!!
Perish the Blanchettes.


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