The Siege of Leningrad, 1942. In a broken-down apartment in the middle of one of the longest and most destructive battles in human history, two teenage boys fall in love with the same girl.

Passionate, terrible and wonderful, Alexei Arbuzov’s The Promise is a rediscovered masterpiece of the twentieth century. Arbuzov covers thirteen years in the lives of these young lovers, filling their hopeless situation with hope and watching them grapple with the idea that the future is always a better place.

Simon Stone last appeared on the mainstage at Belvoir St in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. He’s been blazing a path as a director in Melbourne with acclaimed, full-blooded productions of Wedekind’s Spring Awakening (which visited our Downstairs Theatre in 2008) and Chekhov’s Platonov. Here he directed three of Australia’s finest young actors in a special Company B unearthing of Arbuzov’s great play.

With startling freshness, The Promise asked that magnificent Russian question that has set the Belvoir St stage spinning time and again over the years: How do we live the life we yearn for?


Alison Bell
Ewen Leslie
Chris Ryan


Original Play by Alexei Arbuzov
New Version by Nick Dear
Based on the Translation by Ariadne Nicolaeff
Director Simon Stone
Set Designer Adam Gardnir
Costume Designer Mel Page
Lighting Designer Niklas Pajanti
Composer & Sound Designer Hamish Michael
Sound Consultant Steve Francis
Fight Choreographer Gavin Robins
Stage Manager Luke McGettigan
Assistant Stage Manager Mel Dyer


Quite simply, the language of this play by Russian writer Alexei Arbuzov, in a new adaptation by Nick Dear, is stunningly beautiful.


The Sun Herald

Directed by Simon Stone, the uncluttered production has many wonderful moments, with a riveting performance from Leslie.

Sunday Telegraph