Grigori Rasputin nearly found himself recast as an Australian. Playwright and actor Kate Mulvany studied Russian history in her high school in Geraldton, a remote iron ore port 400 kilometres north of Perth. It was there she “absolutely fell in love with” unpacking events in St Petersburg during World War I, when the doomed mystical faith healer cast a spell on Nicholas II, the last Tsar of the Russian Empire.

“I was obsessed with this story of how these noblemen...

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