Harold Pinter Theatre, London – until 4 August 2021
Inspired by true events, Anna X is an electrifying play that is brought to life in an extremely well put together production.
What a way to complete the Re:Emerge season of plays at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Written by Joseph Charlton, Anna X is a fascinating story of Anna who is originally from the Ukraine and arrives in New York to create a new identity as an art collector and wealthy heiress. Along the way she creates a web of deceit that gradually unfolds given her developing romantic relationship with Ariel (who has created a dating app for the wealthy).
While the story is inspired by (but not a dramatisation of) the true life story of Anna Sorokin, a convicted fraudster who between 2013-2017 pretended to be a wealthy German heiress, this play certainly offers an electrifying interpretation look at art, money and deception in this modern world reliant on social media and technology. The writing feels sharp and concise, with Charlton ensuring that the audience is effortlessly swept into Anna and Ariel’s world.
On the other side of this, it feels as though some of the depth and meaning of the story can be slightly lost behind Daniel Raggett’s dazzling and sleek production that brings it to life with great style. There are moments in which in the script could have provided more focus on Anna’s motivations and character to give more insight.
Yet, throughout Raggett’s confident and stylish production there is much to be appreciated through the cool and sophisticated set and video design by Mikaela Liakata and Tal Yarden, highlighting effortlessly the fast-paced modern world we live in. This is brilliantly highlighted in the electrifying opening scene in which Anna and Ariel meet in a club – combining music, text and projections you feel you are right there with them.
Mike Winship’s music offers a nice steady rhythm to the piece, enhancing the energy in a show that wraps itself around the audience from start to finish effectively.
At the centre of it all, the performances of Emma Corrin as Anna and Nabhaan Rizwan as Ariel offer a nice contrast of personalities that makes the romance of their relationship feel believable. Corrin offers a steely but always compelling performance as Anna – certainly keeping an element of mystery to her performance that makes for intriguing to watch, particularly towards the climax of the show. In contrast to this, Rizwan is immensely warm and likeable as Ariel – but both deliver very controlled performances.
Anna X is an immensely confident and fascinating experience – a wonderful way to complete Sonia Friedman’s Re:Emerge Season.
By Emma Clarendon
Anna X continues to play at the Harold Pinter Theatre until the 4th August. To book tickets click here or visit: Love Theatre.com, London Theatre Direct, Theatre Tickets Direct, From the Box Office or Last Minute.com.