Family Affair 1988

Tour Information

The censor’s report on Aleksander Ostrovsky’s first full-length play read as follows:

All the characters are first-class villains, the dialogue is filthy, the entire play is an insult to the Russian merchant class!


Ostrovsky was also ordered to report regularly to his local police station, was put under surveillance of the dreaded secret police, and forced to resign from the civil service.

Family Affair had, however, been printed in Moskvityanin, a popular monthly literary review, and read aloud in the capital’s literary salons, so that in a few months the young Ostrovsky was Russia’s most famous if unperformed dramatist.

Banned for over ten years, the comedy tells the story of corrupt merchant Bolshov who, in an attempt to evade the creditors, transfers his possessions into the name of his assistant, Lazar. Lazar does not give back the possessions as agreed but instead sets up his own business and even marries Bolshov’s daughter. It is a play of social climbing, cunning and corruption with themes that resonate with contemporary audiences in the modern world.

An adaption by Nick Dear. Produced by Cheek by Jowl. The first performance of Family Affair was on 23rd February 1988 at the University Theatre, Colchester.


Venue City Country Date No. of Performances
University Theatre Colchester UK 23/02/88 3
Corn Exchange Wallingford UK 26/02/88 2
The Swan Stratford Upon Avon UK 29/02/88 3
Harlow Playhouse Harlow UK 03/03/88 3
Central Studio Basingstoke UK 09/03/88 2
Wyeside Arts Centre Builth Wells UK 11/03/88 2
Stahl Theatre Oundle UK 05/03/88 2
Old Town Hall Hemel Hempstead UK 17/03/88 3
Stantonbury Theatre Milton Keynes UK 22/03/88 2
Connaught Theatre Worthing UK 25/03/88 2
Rose Theatre Kidderminster UK 28/03/88 2
Gatehouse Theatre Stafford UK 30/03/88 2
Music Hall Shrewsbury UK 01/04/88 2
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds UK 07/04/88 3
Arts Theatre Cambridge UK 11/04/88 2
Midlands Arts Centre Birmingham UK 13/04/88 2
Stanwix Arts Theatre Carlisle UK 15/04/88 2
Donmar Warehouse London UK 27/04/88 24


Lesley SharpLipochka
Anne WhiteAgrafena
Annette BadlandFominishna
Marcia Warren`Ustinya
Timothy WalkerRispolozhensky
Tam Dean BurnBolshov
Adam KotzLazar
Paul StaceyTishka

DirectorDeclan Donnellan
DesignerNick Ormerod
MusicColin Sell
Lighting DesignerNick Kidd

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