The set was uninspiring with a most unusual backdrop that just didn't fit. The acting was in general excellent but I did notice that the audience were 'resting their eyes' for much of the production - it was warm and the boredom of the play contributed to a lot of sudden nods of the head as they realised they had nodded off! Strong black coffee was available at the bar in the interval and I would recommend you have that instead of alcohol which will only aid sleep. All in all I would say it's for dedicated fans only. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (184.108.40.206)
04 Jun 03
A very strong production, although not in the same league as the wonderful Oxford Stage Company version that Dominic Dromgoole directed at the Whitehall Theatre two or three years ago. That one was dominated by the radiant Irina of Kelly Reilly; this one was definitely the Masha (Kristin Scott Thomas) show.
Michael Blakemore's production was oddly brisk and (as other people have said) uncomfortably cramped on the Playhouse stage. To have Act 4 on a stretch of Ground Force decking did not cut it for me, neither did the expanse of concrete reinforcement mesh that attempted to symbolise the sisters' provincial entrapment (an embarrassingly simplistic and sixth-formish idea).
Solyony went for nothing, particularly deprived of his scent bottle for much of the play (now THERE'S a symbol...), and much potential for both comedy and pathos was thrown away in the hectic pace.
But KST was magnificent, as were Tobias Menzies (Tusenbach), James Fleet (Kulygin) and Susannah Wise (Natasha). As a whole the experience was rich and satisfying, with plenty of memorable production moments.
Job - USER: Whatsonstage.com (220.127.116.11)
14 May 03
Stellar cast does not disappoint. Direction is very sharp too. All done very knowingly , especially by Bathurst who is superbly regal. But my vote for star of the show would go to James Fleet - a great example in playing restrained yet mixed emotions. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (18.104.22.168)
25 Apr 03
From the moment Kristin Scott Thomas makes her presence known, the audience quite obviously has a difficult time taking their eyes off her. She displays quite a tremendous stage presence and confidence that it's actually hard to believe that this is her London stage debut. However, she is not just the customary movie star here because she proves herself an accomplished ensemble player. What I enjoyed the most is the way she delivers some of her lines with such delicious rudeness. Another surprise to those who've only seen her as a frosty aristocrat in films is that she actually has great comedic timing. I guess great acting is great acting, regardless of whether you're utterring funny lines or displaying tragic emotions. The glowing reviews she received are, indeed, well-deserved. The rest of the cast is also quite accomplished. I must admit that there were some slow-moving scenes, and perhaps some of the actors were a little bit over the top, but, otherwise, I found it quite a memorable evening. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (22.214.171.124)
20 Apr 03
The play shines through in this impressive production. The stellar casting means that every part is exceptionally well played. So how marvellous to see Eric Sykes and Margery Mason back on stage. Yet again, David Burke is supereb. The outstanding performance, however, is Douglas Hodge - as the play wears on, every aspect of his terrible life is etched on his face.
- USER: Whatsonstage.com (126.96.36.199)
19 Apr 03
A tremendous revival of Checkovs classic, showing a return to form from the director Blakemore after the failure of life after George. Blakemores direction always keeps the play lively and humorus, and he has clearly got the best out of his cast, and what a cast! The acting from everyone is tremendous. Scott Thomas is stunning as Masha, with her pale face and glamorus featres and Robert Bathurst is equally good as Vershinin. However the performance of the night for me came from one of my favourite actors Douglas Hodge. His performance as the nervy Andrei is a tour de force, and completely diferrent from his last stage outing as a mafia Leaontos in the winters tale. What is so good about this production is that although it has a starry cast they all work as a team, and with this they create a brilliant ensemble. If you have any sense you will book your tickets now! By Hamish Macdougall. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (188.8.131.52)
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