To many, Pussy Riot will be simply known as the balaclava wearing anti-Putin Russian punk group, who stage guerrilla performances in public places.

And yet, having both of their two performances of Riot Days at The Haunt sell out shows that they are much more than just a thorn in Putin’s side. 

Each of their performances consisted of a one hour art piece made up of a mixture of music, theatre and documentary footage detailing in great details the struggles and harsh realities they have faced.

Led by and based on a book of the same name penned by Maria Alyokhina, this cleverly constructed performance piece tells their story of the lead-up to and execution of their headline-grabbing demonstration within a Moscow Cathedral in February 2012, held against the Putin-led Russian state and Orthodox church.

The show also illustrates the run-up to the following month’s Russian election, before moving on to cover the subsequent fallout - including both the trial and imprisonment of the band.

From here, it becomes dedicated to their relentless challenging of the inhumane conditions in which convicts are kept and the need for them to be treated as human beings with basic human rights.

Far from being a conventional gig, it is instead a hard-hitting, punk spirited and encapsulating piece of art theatre told from the viewpoint of Alyokhina.

Whilst the all-Russian narration adds beautifully to the hard hitting impact of the piece (there are English subtitles within the accompanying video), Riot Days offers confirmation that both the Punk and protest movements are still very much needed.

Nathan Westley