Chekhov's blend of naturalism and his ironic employment of theatrical conventions is a difficult ask at the best of times and Chloe Wicks' production gives it both barrels in a game effort to convey boy the dark humour and crushinghly insightful human drama of The Seagull. For the most part, it is a thumping success. The know that needs to be chopped with The Seagull is the subtle and sophisticated characterisation, light and dark, often within the same line of dialogue.
What is delightful about this production are a number of very strong performances that do a fine job in the drama department. Ruby Thomas as Masha has the kind of iron surety in her performance that reminded me of Samantha Bond. Alfred Enoch's Trigorin is understatedly malevolent and Michael Kalisch as Dorn is terrific as one of the only characters that really conveys anything like emotional intelligence.
Two flaws in this production stop it from taking off completely. Firstly, amidst some great performances, the quality of some of the supporting cast is pretty erratic. Secondly, whilst the drama is expertly handled, the dark comedy does not convince. The style of the production seems to lurch towards easy laughs at points, which detracts from the wholling convincing sense of despondency that was hitherto being cultivated. A shame but not a fatal error, this production does justice to such a grimy tragic drama.