Review: Battleship Potemkin at Norwich Playhouse

PUBLISHED: 09:39 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:40 17 May 2018

Noisy Holiday is part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival programme.  Photo: Sonya Duncan

Noisy Holiday is part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival programme. Photo: Sonya Duncan


Serge Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin is testimony to the fervour of the Russian Revolution and one of the masterpieces of early cinema.

From the silent era, it has no dialogue, but showings have always had musical accompaniment.

It was provided in this Opera North production at the Norwich Playhouse by Jan Bang, composer and electronic performer, and guitarist Matt Calvert.

They added to the tension of this drama that combines hard realism with idealistic symbolism. We see harsh life and sadistic discipline aboard the warship. Rotting food triggers mutiny, and the handling of masses of sailors rampaging on deck reveals the director’s skill. So does the massacre of civilians in the famous Odessa Steps sequence.

Beautifully photographed in black and white, shots of the sea and ships and close-ups of machinery in motion and expressive faces add impact to this film that has always been admired since its premiere in 1925.

Christopher Smith

• Battleship Potemkin was part of this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival. For your daily guide to festival events click here

• For all the latest festival news and reviews click here

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