Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
In a spirited Edinburgh debut, the daughter of a former deputy PM of Russia tells her father’s fascinating story
Plenty of comics get good material from their parents’ behaviour, and plenty of comics talk politics. Seldom before have those species of comedy been cross-bred – but then not all comics have a story to tell as eye-opening as Olga Koch’s. She is the daughter of a provincial mayor in the USSR, briefly turned deputy PM of Boris Yeltsin’s Russia. Alfred Koch cooked up the “voucher privatisation” scheme that channelled Soviet state assets into the hands of the oligarchs. As Olga says, that’s a hell of dad fact for a teenage daughter to have in reserve when she needs to win a family argument.
Her debut Edinburgh show (she was shortlisted for best newcomer) tells her parents’ story in flashback from the time, four years ago, that her dad went alarmingly awol from his Moscow apartment. It’s part storytelling, part family album, and part Clive James on TV mockery of Russian advertising. I found those latter sections a little condescending. But given what her dad has suffered, and continues to suffer, at Russia’s hands, you can’t blame Koch – Russian-born, American-educated – for taking potshots in the other direction.Continue Reading