There is mime but “The Overcoat” is not mime. They make you smile, but it is not comedy. They act like clowns, but it is not a circus. Since it is all these things at once, it must be an unusually pure form of theatre.
THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER, UK, 2000
A delicate and enchanting version of Gogol’s sad story of human identity and freedom.
THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER, UK, 2000
Brilliant Bulgarian actors present a living overcoat. “The Overcoat” of Bulgaria’s Theatre Credo is a disturbing, beautiful, intimate, human, humorous, fun, sad, playful, touching, humble, trusting and opened approach towards the inner being of the audience member. “The Overcoat” is a symbol of the individuality and freedom of each person. “The Overcoat” is two brilliant actors’ theatrical celebration of their wide spectrum of stage abilities. Credo Theatre’s language lure the viewer in so many ways. It brings clowning, improvisation, puppetry and the humour of silent film into one. Their mischievous playfulness is present throughout, while the trust is boundless. The Bulgarian “The Overcoat” is a spiritual feast. When coming out of the theatre the spectators seemed to be filled with positive energy. That is the refreshing power art.
AAMULETTI NEWSPAPER, FINLAND, 2000
The professional and spiritual virtues of Credo Theatre`s stage interpretation of “The Overcoat” by Gogol are of highest rank. An unexpected and highly emotional artistic achievement to translating a literary text into an exciting theatrical performance. An absurd scenography, which, the two actors’ imagination further transforms into a brilliant, convincing and extremely effective theatrical form. Deeply moving dramatic acting. The production is unique in managing to achieve the so rarely unanimous acclaim of critics and audiences alike. The theatrical language of these two Bulgarian actors is so resourceful and witty that it instantly captivates the audience. The touching and somewhat absurd glory of Gogol’s novelette in Russian literature is, as never before to such an extent, explored as deeply and clearly as in this particular production.
KOMERSIANT DAILY NEWSPAPER, RUSSIA, 1997
It is impossible to describe how as if in child-play the actors make a whole world out of nothing, creating a wealth of deep multiple meaning.As if in a child’s game, when object means more than one thought at first sight, and it has profound meaning only when used out of its own context.
ITOGI – NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE, RUSSIA, 1997
The magic of Credo is simply the result of their genius. They are geniuses, absolute geniuses. In my experience spanning 50 Edinburgh Festivals and hundreds of performances that I have selected, they are one of the top ten artistic events that I have ever seen. They present to us the work of a Russian genius refracted through a Bulgarian prism and thus making it so much more interesting. After watching their production, one gains a completely new concept of theatre. The audience is totally drawn into the performance. The two Credo actors have an uncanny sensitivity for human suffering, a deep compassion, and I do not believe we can find an equivalent of their theatre in Great Britain.
RICHARD DEMARCO, EDINBOURGH FESTIVAL, UK, FOR BBC RADIO -LONDON, 1997
If a person wants to see an Eastern European theatre which reflects the current period in history, if 50 years in the future we wanted to know what it was like now, in our times, Credo’s production, if it could be encapsulated, would tell all about us – about theatre, human interrelations, our whole age. They make “magic” on stage – out of next to nothing at all. An incredible blend of genius which overcomes resourcefully the mishaps of lack of means and sets. Their production speaks so much of the human spirit, of its warmth and depth.
TERRY SANDEL, DIRECTOR OF VISITING ARTS, UK, FOR BBC RADIO – LONDON, 1997
One of the most amazing theatrical events in Edinburgh Festival. Hilariously funny, completely charming, heart-renderingly tragic, every aspect of this production has a superlative attached to it. And there are as many aspects as the human mind can visualise.
THE SCOTSMAN NEWSPAPER, UK, 1997
TOP 20 of the best art events of Edinburgh Festival, 1997. Stunning is the only word. An unexpected hit from Bulgaria’s Credo Theatre. An exquisite dream-like version of Gogol’s famous tale. This extraordinary company, with a few seemingly insignificant props, create a magical world of imprisonment, misery, despair, freedom and joy. The captivated audience is effortlessly drawn into Gogol’s world of ironic whimsy through some superb acting. There is no excuse not to see this one.
THE STAGE MAGAZINE, UK, 1997
A virtuoso improvisation of Gogol’s plot, as exact as clockwork, that takes part on the inside and outside of a cage. A rarely achieved theatrical efficiency. A truth recreated with spontaneity and minimalism. Saintly, yet naive, honest, kindhearted, a lithe play of inner freedom, as necessary as air, but as transient as the coat. With real lightness, as if cracking their fingers or just mischievously winking, the two actors tell more of the drama of human existence than can be found in hundreds of tomes, or in hundred-hour long elaborate productions. A wooden cage, a few sheets of plywood, two brilliant actors – that is the whole “mechanism” of the miracle of “The Overcoat”.
LITHUANIAN ECHO NEWSPAPER, LITHUANIA, 1997
A metaphorical tale of freedom and the human spirit. Zuek and Nina speak in the universal language of art, magically transforming the set before our very eyes, and Gogol’s novelette becomes a dream that has not been dreamed to the end.
DNEVNI AVAZ NEWSPAPER, BOSNIA, 1997
A performance of truly international standard. Credo’s version of “The Overcoat” makes new and moving sense out of Gogol’s dark fable about personal identity and freedom.
THE SCOTSMAN NEWSPAPER, UK, 1996
Witty and inventive. A fine example of the imaginative power of theatre.
THE HERALD NEWSPAPER, UK, 1996
A pair of superb young actor – clowns from Bulgaria presented a version of Gogol’s Overcoat so simple, driven by such a fierce desire to communicate with the audience, that the burning sense of common humanity it generated almost stripped the paint from the cellar walls.
SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY NEWSPAPER, UK, 1996
How wonderful! How profoundly sad!! How innately comic!!! A laughter that is neither a ridicule, or arrogance, or sacking delight. “Laughter caused by love for the other”, to quote Gogol. A joyful and pure humor through which Credo Theatre in a miraculous way creates on stage both cowardly characters and humble dreams until finally everybody realises, “How tragicomic life is!” When the two Bulgarians from Credo Theatre run high nobody questions anymore why theatre exists.
MITTELDAUSCHE ZEITUNG NEWSPAPER, GERMANY, 1996
Poetic and ingenious, with a stage-set as sparse as the main character’s garments. The actors create a dreamlike fairyland, performing in it with such loving, comical and breathtaking ingenuity that you want to see them again and again.
SAARBRUCKER ZEITUNG NEWSPAPER, GERMANY, 1996
A cage filled with miracles! Extremely sparse means of expression, synthesised to a most powerful effect, performed in an insuperable manner by the two full-fledged actors of Credo theatre.This is the most exciting version of Gogol`s “Overcoat” one could imagine. Dreams and thoughts come to life and acquire a form.
SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG NEWSPAPER, GERMANY, 1996
“The Overcoat” of Credo Theatre is an outstanding event in European theatre of the second half of the XX century! An insuperable and indefinable union, between playwright and acting talent defending humankind as God’s greatest creation, defending all spiritual freedom.
DAR NEWSPAPER, RUSSIA, 1995
If we are to discuss the quality of talent here, the Bulgarian Credo Theatre with their production “The Overcoat” is a discovery. Even the great masters of the Russian stage stood to their feet, claiming: “This is worth living for, working for, making festivals for”.
AIF NA DON NEWSPAPER, RUSSIA, 1995
Laughter through tears, the unabating applause in the hall – this adaptation of the lack of love between people brought the audience to its feet. Nina Dimitrova so much like Julieta Masinain “La Strada”, can be just as full of suffering and tenderness, and personify the most amazing human emotions – compassion, love for the others, self-sacrifice, strife for life. A great theatre art!
NORDBAYERISCHE ZEITUNG NEWSPAPER, GERMANY, 1995
And the entire art of the Bulgarian Credo Theatre enfolds to breathe life into Gogol’s famous novelette. There is no end to their inventiveness. Their humour is devastating. True pleasure. And you should just see the staging! Three sofas, a few pieces of cardboard, a sheet of low quality textile and a cage put crudely together from sticks. They don’t need anything else to bring to live – and what life! – the mocking spirit of the great Russian writer. Borrowing tools from Commedia Dell’Arte, puppetry and improvisation, Nina Dimitrova and Vassil Vassilev-Zuek present us with a grand performance in which sparsity of means stimulates creativity, all the resourcefulness needed to portray the strange imaginary reality of the text. Remarkable.
LA NOUVELLE REPUBLIQUE DES PYRENEES NEWSPAPER, FRANCE, 1995
Credo Theatre gave a beautiful finale to the Theatre Spring festival in Laval. The acting of the objects and the acting of two Bulgarian actors who know very well how to move the audience. What a successful adaptation! An allegory of freedom which the audience in Jane Mace Theatre understood and felt profoundly. They laughed and they cried and they were deeply stirred.
PRINTEMPS THEATRAL FESTIVAL CRITICS, LAVAL, FRANCE, 1995
Due to its contagious, extraordinary theatrical language this small theatrical form with an immense spiritual impact proves to be one of the greatest events in Bulgarian theatre life.
JULIA OGNIANOVA, THEATRE CRITIC, BULGARIA, 1994
The insanity of the genius and the insanity of theatre came together in a fabulously spectacular performance. “The Overcoat” is not simply good or professionally wonderful. It is dumbfounding!
HERSONESS EVENNING NEWSPAPER, UKRAINE, 1994
The Theatre Credo production of „The Overcoat” poetically reinterprets Gogol’s prose in a witty and enthralling to the theatre-goer manner, entertaining the whole audience with its original and inimitable artistry. People and objects become equal. Anything on stage is part of the performance. Even words become objects to play with. And objects in turn become theatrical text. Nina Dimitrova could be proclaimed to be best actress if only she were performing a female role. But she is performing Gogol for which reason we will simply claim her to be the best woman-actor.
KULTURA NEWSPAPER, RUSSIA, 1994
“Encore’ Encore, Encore for “The Overcoat”! Two extraordinarily incredible actors held us on the verge of the tragicomic with amazing gracefulness.”
CHARLEVILLE-MEZIERE FESTIVAL CRITICS, FRANCE, 1994