A PAIR Of ageing veterans counting down their days vodka by vodka are symbolic of a young country haunted by its history in Remembrance Day.
Aleksey Sherbak's political drama is set during the build up to and aftermath of the annual parade through Riga by Latvians who, fighting for the Third Reich, halted the Red Army.
The controversial march brings to the fore deep divisions in the newly independent country, with Latvians hailing the former soldiers as heroes while to Russians living alongside them they will always be a bunch of Nazi fascists.
An ill-advised stand by naive but well-meaning father Sasha (the excellent Michael Nardone) only serves to stir things up even more - both on the streets and within his own dingy apartment block, where he and family are conveniently sandwiched by a Latvian and a Russian veteran.
The resulting events offer a fascinating insight into the ongoing struggle for identity in the former Soviet Union.
But, despite a series of strong performances (including Ruby Bentall as bubbly, lovestruck activist Anya), this 90-minute production feels more like holding a stethoscope to the heart of Latvia than performing open-heart surgery.
The symbolism is laid on so thick you could almost be watching an Open University introduction to Latvian politics at times.
Michael Longhurst's direction is snappy if occasionally a little heavy handed. The characters, for example, often sit side-by-side on stage while in reality occupying different apartments - seemingly an attempt to highlight the different ideologies crammed into one crumbling block.
Where the play ultimately falls short for me, however, is that in the desperation not to take sides it ends up demonising politicians simply because they are a soft target.
Although this may rest easy with an English audience still smarting from the expenses scandal, blaming politicians for all the woes of modern-day Latvia seems a bit of a cop out.
Remembrance Day is at the Royal Court until April 16.