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This dramatization is loosely based on the life of the Soviet scientist Lev Theremin. He was the inventor of the first electronic musical instrument that bears his name. His "electronic synthesizer" caused quite a sensation all over the world. Theremin created the Rhythmicon - the first electronic drum machine, the theremin cello and terpsitone.
As for the story, it is fictitious. Theremin wasn't kidnapped by the NKVD. He flew back to the USSR from New York, where he'd fallen in love and married an African American ballet dancer.
But back in the USSR, Theremin was imprisoned and sent to a labour camp where he ... designed eavesdropping devices, one of the most notorious was the Great Seal bug. The 'present' had hung in the U.S. ambassador's study for years before the concealed bug was discovered.
Leo Theremin, or Lev Termen in Russian, was a genius, but sadly little is known about him. There is a documentary directed by S. Martin, which is too inaccurate to refer to, and a brilliant book by A. Glinsky that I can recommend.
The performance was rather laid-back. T. Hollander as Theremin seemed distant and even dismissive at times, in stark contrast to the passionate and sympathetic Anna (Kate Ashfield). It's their relationship that intrigued me. Psychologically, it's a curious play, but do not expect any action.
All in all, I'd say I enjoyed this spy drama.
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