The Playground Theatre presents Ida Rubinstein: The Final Act, with Naomi Sorkin

The untold story of dance’s forgotten diva. A play with music & dance.

The full cast are Darren Berry as Ravel, Marco Gambino as D'Annuzio, Naomi Sorkin as Ida Rubinstein, Max Wilson as Edward Clement, and Kathryn Worth as Sorreto/Romaine Brooks.

The stellar creative team includes director and choreographer Christian Holder (choreography includes American Ballet Theatre and Joffrey Ballet), designs by twice-BAFTA winner and Emmy award-winning designer David Roger, lighting by Declan Randall, videography by Matthew Ferguson, and Ida’s costumes by Charles and Patricia Lester.

Ida Rubinstein: The Final Act tells the untold story of dance's forgotten diva, the early 20th-Century Russian impresario, performer, and femme fatale. From Paris to Palestine, from dancing with the Ballets Russes to commissioning Ravel’s BoléroIda Rubinstein’s career as a dancer and impresario saw her working with artists such as Stravinsky, Nijinsky, and Debussy. But despite her varied career and fame in her own time, her name is all but forgotten, whilst her contemporaries live on in memory.

Now Naomi Sorkin, actor and former ballerina with American Ballet Theatre, recounts the Russian heiress’ dramatic life: her scandalous Salomé that lead her embarrassed family to commit her to an asylum, her rise to the heights of fame in Paris, her bisexual love affairs, the assassination of her long-time lover Lord Moyne, and her selfless devotion to wounded soldiers in both World Wars.

Ida Rubinstein: The Final Act combines text, movement, music, projections, and film to evoke a long-gone era of theatrical extravagance. 

Naomi Sorkin (Ida Rubinstein) was one of America’s leading classical and dramatic ballerinas. She began her career at 14, dancing with the Chicago Lyric Opera, joined American Ballet Theatre at 17, where she rose quickly through the ranks to become a principal artist, there as well as with both the Eliot Feld company and the San Francisco Ballet. She became known for her varied repertoire, which spanned dramatic, classical, lyrical, and contemporary dance. Her dramatic power and lyricism, combined with a strong classical technique made her a favourite with choreographers worldwide such as William Forsythe and Lindsay Kemp.

In her parallel career as an actress, Henryk Baranowski, twice winner of Russia’s Golden Mask award adapted _The Idiot_ for Naomi to play Nastyasia Filippovna in London at the Riverside Studios, as well as creating the role of The Black Angel for her in his Macbeth in Poland. She inspired and starred in Madame Ida, which was shown at the V&A, London Short Film Festival as well as in Paris, Capri, Brescia, and St Petersburg, where it resides permanently in the collection of the Theatre Museum of St Petersburg. She also starred in Roman Fever, based on the Edith Wharton short story of the same name, which screened at Riverside Studios and the Aesthetica Film Festival.

Darren Berry (Ravel) is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, session musician, musical director, orchestral arranger, and composer. His work includes the HBO series Art-land, Channel 4’s The Turner Prize, along with installations at the Tate Modern and winning a Grammy for the eponymously titled La Roux album.

Marco Gambino (D'Annuzio) is an Italian actor who has been working extensively in the UK and abroad. Marco has appeared in some of the most popular Italian and British television series including Young Montalbano, Emmerdale, The Boss of the Bosses, Squadra antimafia, and Romolo and Giuly. Films include The International and il TraditoreMarco is also known for his monologues which he interprets in more than one language: Words of Honour, Othello’s Guilt, and Maria Callas the Black pearl.  

Max Wilson’s (Edward Clement) theatre credits include Potted Potter (Broadway Playhouse Chicago, Hobby Center Houston), Potted Panto (Garrick Theatre), Flowers of the Forest (Jermyn Street Theatre), Othello (Riverside Studios, Off West End nomination: Best Supporting Actor), The Komagata Maru Incident (Finborough Theatre), Betrayal (LCT), The Tempest (Grassroots Shakespeare), and Please Wait Patiently and The Drunken City (Chiswick Playhouse). 

Kathryn Worth (Sorreto/Romaine Brooks) starred opposite Tom Hiddleston in Joanna Hogg's award-winning feature Unrelated for which she won Best Actress at the Silk Road Film Festival. Other film features include Waking DavidThe Gates of VanityAlways in the PresentThrough The LensThe Fighter's BalladBigga Than Ben, and Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont, several award winning short films including Roman Fever. Recent theatre includes John Gabriel Borkman (Gatehouse Theatre), Maurice (Above the Stag Theatre), Game Over (UK Tour), The Listening Room (Old Red Lion Theatre), and Archimedes Principle (Park Theatre).

Christian Holder (Director and Choreographer) has had several theatrical careers, from being a child actor/dancer in London, to a principal dancer with The Joffrey Ballet in New York, to costume designer and choreographer, and most recently, as a solo cabaret vocalist. He has worked with choreographers Jerome Robbins, Agnes de Mille, and Leonid Massine. Ida Rubinstein: The Final Act marks Christian's debut as playwright and director in London.

David Roger (Designer) holds four RTS design awards, an Emmy, and two BAFTAs. He has designed countless productions for stage, opera, film, and television, as well as dance. Recent work includes Twyla Tharps's Mr Worldly Wise at the Royal Ballet, The Fiery Angel (Mariinsky/Royal Opera/Met), Akhenaten, Return of Ulysses at the ENO, Manon in Paris Boheme for Opera North, The Messiah for the Royal Danish Opera, Frankfurt, Opera factory, and he is currently in Prague designing Dangerous Liaisons for Starz TV/Playground.

Declan Randall (Lighting Designer) is an award-winning lighting designer. Declan has over 500 design credits to his name, including: Pride & Prejudice at Beijing Poly Theatre; The Glass Piano at The Print Room at The Coronet Theatre; A Dance of Decadence The Little Orchestra; Hadal Zone all at the National Centre for Circus Arts; Henry VOthelloMacbethRichard III all for the Guildford Shakespeare Company; Bugsy MaloneAnimalcolm, Merrily We Roll Along Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford; Sister ActFull Moon Nelson Mandela Theatre; Man of Steal all at the Menier Chocolate Factory.


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