One late summer afternoon, a successful middle-aged man sits peacefully with his wife on the veranda of their summer house. Somewhere below them, their grandchildren are playing on the beach. Half an hour later, all communication with the outside world has been cut off, and the house is swarming with secret police and heavily armed officers. For the man is Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the date is August 18 1991. Penny Gold's gripping and deeply moving play takes place at a pivotal moment of world history. Part political thriller and part personal drama, The President's Holiday draws on the diaries of Raisa Gorbacheva to tell the story of a family under siege and an idealist who unwittingly destroys everything for which he has fought.