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Faithful Ruslan: The Story of A Guard Dog

Citizens Theatre


An extraordinary satire on the Stalinist regime in Russia seen through the eyes of a guard dog, this is a modern ‘Animal Farm’ for the world of Trump, May and Putin.

When Josef Stalin dies in 1953, the inhabitants of prison camps across Russia are liberated. Prisoners, guards and guard dogs are all free to go home. But with life in the Service all he has ever known, loyal guard dog Ruslan remains at his post and faithful to the Master, even as he gives his final unthinkable order.

Based on real life events, the novel by Georgi Vladimov and translated to English by Michael Glenny has been adapted for the stage by Polish director Helena Kaut-Howson, whose adventurous, passionate and imaginative productions have led to her being named one of the top directors in the UK. Theatre de Complicite co-founder and one of ‘contemporary theatre’s greatest clowns’ (The Guardian) Marcello Magni joins the creative team as Movement Director.

Please note, an article has mistakenly said that dogs are welcome at performances of this production. We can only admit assistance dogs at the Citizens Theatre.

A Citizens Theatre, Belgrade Theatre and KP Productions Ltd. co-production

Main Theatre

View seating plan

Recommended 14+

Wed 20 Sep, 7.30pm
Fri 29 Sep, 7.30pm
Sat 30 Sep, 2.30pm
Sat 30 Sep, 2.30pm
Tue 3 Oct, 7.30pm

Wheelchair Access
Guide Dogs welcome
Induction Loop

Cast & Creative Team >


Adapted and Directed by Helena Kaut-Howson
Writer - Georgi Vladimov
Translator - Michael Glenny
Designer - Paweł Dobrzycki
Movement Director - Marcello Magni
Composer - Bolesław Rawski
Sound Designer - Martyn Davies
Assistant Director - George Nichols


Hunter Bishop
Paul Brendan
Martin Donaghy
Mark Jax
Isabelle Joss
Max Keeble
Vinta Morgan
Tilda O’Grady
Camrie Palmer
Nicholas Ralph
Ewan Somers
Sinéad Sharkey
Paweł Zdun


“a harrowing, thought-provoking, and beautifully presented show”
The Scotsman  ★★★★

“a thrilling piece of theatre”
The Herald  ★★★★

” captivating and important ” The Reviews Hub  ★★★★

“A dazzling ensemble play dogs and chickens, as well as brutal soldiers and their prisoners, in this account of the horrors of the gulag”
The Guardian

“hats off to Max Keeble for an incredible performance as Ruslan”
Behind the Arras

“Max Keeble is superb as the starving, driven and disorientated Ruslan”
Muddy Stilettos

“one of those quirky, interesting theatrical experiences that I’m glad to have witnessed”
Remote Goat

Production Trailer

Production Photos

Faithful Ruslan: The Story of a Guard Dog production photos

Dominic Hill on Faithful Ruslan
Interview with Helena Kaut-Howson and Marcello Magni
Rehearsal photographs

Faithful Ruslan: The Story of a Guard Dog rehearsal photography


If you are deaf or hard of hearing, we want to make sure you can enjoy the best night out at the Citizens Theatre. Find out more about the Deaf Theatre Club.

Pre-show Event: Sat 30 Sep

A talk and Q&A session with Misha Glenny. Find out more here.