Pravda (which means ‘truth’) is a comedy of excess which put modern Fleet Street on the stage for the first time. It is an acerbic satire on the ruthless newspaper culture of the 1980s, in particular an insatiable media mogul eating into the liberal, loss-making establishment.
Lambert Le Roux begins his string of aggressive acquisitions by buying the local paper The Leicester Bystander, firing the editor and putting Andrew in charge, a man who loves newspapers so much he won’t print corrections because they spoil the page. Andrew’s fortunes rise with La Roux’s as the tycoon buys a broadsheet, fires almost everyone and promoting Andrew to the top. La Roux is a man who believes in regularly sacking his entire work force and that there is no point making good papers because the bad ones sell so much better, and the play matches his unprincipled machinations against Andrew’s wavering principles.
Pravda is an attack on the commercial degradation of the British newspaper that is both lively and funny, and fascinatingly prophetic. Pravda premiered in 1985 at the National Theatre, London.