Redgraves' Orchard Moves to Larger OlivierDate: 9 November 2000
Trevor Nunn's acclaimed National Theatre production of Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, starring theatre's most famous siblings, Vanessa and Corin Redgrave, will transfer to a bigger venue in the new year. The production sold out before it even began its initial run at the Cottesloe, the NT's smallest venue, on 21 September 2000 (previews from 15 September). It will finish its run there on 25 January 2001 before moving across to the Olivier , the NT's largest theatre, on 3 February.
As in real life, the Redgraves play brother and sister. They are Leonid and Lyubov, members of the Gaev family who face bankruptcy and the loss of their estate. Even so, they refuse to sell their largest asset, their famous cherry orchard. The old world is giving way to the new, but the Gaevs seem not to have noticed the bewildering changes in the Russian way of life. The fate of the beautiful orchard becomes a symbol of the fate of all of the characters on the brink of a new world.
The Redgraves last appeared together in 1999's revival of Noel Coward's Song at Twilight at the Gielgud Theatre, but they have worked together before both on and off the stage. In 1994, they formed Moving Theatre, which co-produced the world premiere of Tennessee Williams's prison drama Not About Nightingales at the National in 1998.
That proved to be a hit for Corin who starred as Boss Whalen at the National and on Broadway, receiving Best Actor nominations at the Olivier, Tony and Drama Desk Awards. Vanessa Redgrave's other recent theatre credits include The Tempest at the Globe (in which she played a female Prospero), Antony and Cleopatra (which she also directed) in New York, and John Gabriel Borkman at the National.
The Redgraves are joined by a stellar ensemble cast, which includes Roger Allam (who won this year's Olivier for Best Supporting Actor for Money, an NT Ensemble production), Eve Best, Charlotte Emerson, William Gaunt, Michael Bryant, Maxine Peake and Suzanne Bertish.
The National's production of The Cherry Orchard is a new version by David Lan whose adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya was staged at the Young Vic in 1998. It is designed by Maria Bjornson, with lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by Paul Groothuis.