Beauty is Prison-Time

3 out of 5 stars
Beauty is Prison-Time
© Alexander Hatheway Beauty is Prison Time

‘Win contest is like beauty ticket to out,’ enthuses Lyudmilla, as she prepares for a prison beauty pageant and, hopefully, her freedom. As she sews her glittering costume, Zoe Mavroudi’s monologue retraces the steps that led a smart girl from Minsk into an empty prison cell.

Writer Mavroudi performs her text with instinctive understanding, adjusting her voice and demeanour with skilful nuance. She’s wide-eyed when recalling her slide into prostitution, fierce when discussing her daughter and hauntingly naive in her hope for escape.

It is a delicately ensnaring performance but the text’s grip is less firm. The monologue occurs mainly outside prison and, despite its harrowing content, settles down into a relatively straightforward narrative of an innocent girl, undone.

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