Patriots review: 'plays out like a lethal game of chess'

His combination of wealth and political influence is a magnet for dour public official Putin and proto-oligarch Roman Abramovich who approach him for advancement. Deals are done and Berezovsky, whose self-belief is fissionable, deludes himself into thinking he is Putin’s unassailable puppetmaster.

Rupert Goold’s assured production plays out like a lethal game of chess on a simple thrust stage that serves as Berezovsky’s extravagant office as well as a bar where grim-visaged men nurse vodkas.

Keen’s Putin is quite brilliant, an unsmiling, committed figure who poses in front of a mirror trying to outwit his reflection as a ‘small man.’

Litvinenko (Jamael Westman) is a man of principle who becomes a victim of Putin’s reprisals against those who betrayed him and therefore betrayed Russia itself.

But it is Hollander who fuels the production as he slips from an egotistical power broker to a broken, paranoid and (almost) pitiable exile who knows his days are numbered.

  • Patriots Almeida Theatre until August 20 Tickets: 020 7359 4404


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