Fringe Box



Stage Dragon Review – The Rubenstein Kiss At The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 28 Oct, 2015
Updated on: 28 Oct, 2015

Based on a true story set in the McCarthy era, The Rubenstein Kiss explores a family’s search for truth over the generations.

Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were the first US citizens to be sent to the electric chair for passing US atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. They were betrayed by the brother-in law who allowed them both to die in the electric chair to save himself and protect his family.

They protested their innocence to the end and would not confess to save their own lives.

The Rubenstein Kiss - intensely passionate embrace before execution.

The Rubenstein Kiss – intensely passionate embrace before execution.

More than 20 years later, a young Jewish couple meet and seek out justice.

The play is not a documentary and the Rubensteins are not Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and it is a little unsettling not to know what was based on fact and what was fiction. But it is a story of desperate choices; death with honour or life with a lie, loyalty or betrayal, utter conviction or a compromise for survival?

The play raises questions about the battle with conscience over country, with topical parallels being seen in Edward Snowden and the Wikileaks expose. They weren’t innocent but they strongly believed that they were doing right.

Written as a debut piece by author James Phillips, the play ran as a new production at the Nottingham Playhouse to rave reviews in the Guardian and I can see why.

The actors were compelling. Jacob and Esther Rubenstein were convincingly played as strong, brave and passionate by Joe Coen and Katherine Manners. The weak brother-in-law David and his tough, selfish wife Rachel were very credible characters as played by Mark Field and Ellie Burrow. The young couple were touchingly played by Simon Hayes and Gillian Saker.

The sets were simple and atmospheric with clever remotely controlled movements of the scenery and very effective lighting.

I really enjoyed the play. The last act was intensely emotional and tearful with an oddly satisfying coming together of the families as the curtain dropped. Thought provoking and substantial, a memorable evening’s entertainment.

The play runs at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre until Saturday, October 31 with matinees at 2pm on both Thursday, October 29 and Saturday, October 31. Tickets can be booked on 01483 440000 or online.

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Responses to Stage Dragon Review – The Rubenstein Kiss At The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

  1. Gordon Bridger Reply

    October 28, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Very useful to have these reviews early in the week and we can thus decide whether a play is worth seeing.

    Margaret Burgess writes excellent reviews for the Surrey Advertiser, but they only come out on Friday.

    Pity you cannot do Mill plays – these can be first rate.

  2. Pauline Surrey Reply

    November 3, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Yes thank you for this review. It made us go on Saturday night, and it was such a good piece of theatre, one I will not forget in a hurry. Theatre at its best. And last minute tickets, very good seats.

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