sochi 2014In a fluctuating global climate for LGBT rights, Sochi 2014 protests the human rights atrocities being committed in Russia today and the controversy surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Writer Tess Berry-Hart weaves testimonies from LGBT people persecuted in Russia with the words of politicians on Russia’s contentious anti-gay rights laws to great effect. Putting the proposed boycott of the Olympics in context with a discussion of the gay rights situation in Russia throughout history, the play leads us up to the situation as it stands today. Sochi 2014 shows that, despite homosexuality being decriminalized in 1993, there remain laws in place in Russia that make second-class citizens of gay people, such as the bans on “homosexual propaganda”.

Tempers will rise as the information with which we are presented becomes more and more brutal. The bottom line is: being gay in Russia is a death sentence. LGBT people in Russia live a life of fear and violence, risking beatings, killings and “corrective” rape if they decide to be open about their identities.

Putin and Stephen Fry make appearances alongside athletes, journalists, politicians, policemen and victims of homophobic violence. No aspect of the situation is safe from FULLfuse Theatre’s sharp tongue – politics, the church and the law all find themselves criticised in this passionate piece.

Sochi 2014 is highly relevant and highly necessary – an alarming line in the programme notes states that “some of our team are working under pseudonyms to protect their involvement in the production leaking to colleagues in overseas countries where homosexuality is outlawed.” But whilst the subject matter is profound and treated with the required gravitas by all involved, the acting itself is a little am-dram. That being said, there are moments of tension with impressive energy.

Fusing art with activism, Sochi 2014 is a thought-provoking watch and gets its important message across well.

Sochi 2014 plays at Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) until 21 August. For tickets and more information, visit the Edinburgh Fringe website.