Theatre review: Yuri

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Childless couple Adele and Patrick find their lives change overnight when Adele brings home Yuri, a 13-year-old Russian boy she finds abandoned in Lidl. If he is called Yuri. If he is Russian. If he’s even 13. Suddenly, nobody seems to be too sure of anything.

Rating: ****

Venue: Underbelly (Venue 61)

Daf James’ adaptation of Fabrice Melquiot’s farce for theatre company August012 is part of the season on the Fringe supported by the National Theatre of Wales. Set in Cardiff, Adele and Patrick inhabit a world of Ikea furniture, mindfulness colouring books and raw broccoli, and the play pokes relentless fun at them, from their self-absorption to their dubious fashion choices.

At the same time, we can’t help but feel for them: Adele (Carys Eleri) poised on the brink of hysteria; Patrick (Ceri Murphy) vascillating between fear and loathing for this imposter in his family nest, and unabashed contentment when Yuri responds to him. Meanwhile, Yuri himself (Guto Wynne Davies) seems devoid of etiquette, peeing in the corner and failing to keep his affection within appropriate familial limits.

August012’s Mathilde Lopez works the play for laughs, using music and static microphones to enhance its tendency to melodrama, then pulling back into irony as the cast shouts out complaints to the stage crew. The snatches of Welsh used give the non-Welsh speaker a sense that there are still more jokes which we aren’t party to.

Yuri pushes credibility well beyond its limits and that won’t suit everyone. But it is also a powerful commentary on what longing can drive us to, and what we can persuade ourselves to accept, if we’ve wished for it hard enough.

• Until 28 August. Today 10:10pm

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