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Written in 1896 this is a comic play of aspiration and failure. Nina aspires to be an actress, Kostya a writer. Madame Arkadina and Trigorin are already these things. Can the young people's dreams come true or will they sour when confronted with the adult world?
26 January 2007
Ian Rickson signs off as artistic director of the Royal Court with Chekhov’s play about actors and writers that highlights the pitfalls of celebrity and the risk of new forms in the most compelling psychological tragi-comedy of the modern theatre.
When the Court produced an all-star West End version in the mid 1960s, it was hard to see (to me, at any rate) how the piece plugged in to the new work ethos. The great thing about Rickson’s revival, using a polished, pointed new version by Christopher Hampton, is that it battles its way to its conclusions, throws up a different array of acting styles and treats the play indeed as if it had been written yesterday.
The first act offers no Chekhovian solace of mood or atmosphere. Konstantin’s play is performed in the sombre dark of the country lakeside. Not just Masha is in mourning for her life. When he translated the play, Tom Stoppard was adamant that indeed there is no real talent in the “decadent” drama of absurd statemen...
Latest User Review
david robertson - 15 March 2007:
Very disappointed by this production given its pedigree. The direction adds nothing new to this production and whilst I applaud bringing out the humour in Chekhov in Hampton's translation, the audience hooting at the idea of Konstantin's suicide is perhaps going too far! Mackensie Crook is, politely, miscast and there is no emotional arc to his character: at the start Konstantin is about to put on his "new" play starring the woman he loves and loves him - by having him start gloomy and boring the direction leaves him nowhere to go. KST and Carey Mulligan add class and are moving and the supporting cast are fine. But overall, the production is overlong and unmemorable, and the ending, always difficult, was awkwardly handled. Then again, I loved the Katie Mitchell version which wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but at elast had atmosphere.......
Kristin Scott Thomas (Madame Arkadina)
Mackenzie Crook (Konstantin)
Katherine Parkinson (Masha)
Chiwete Ejiofor (Trigorin)
Carey Mulligan (Nina)
Peter Wright (Sorin)
Pearce Quigley (Medviedenko)
Paul Jesson (Shamraeff)
Christopher Patrick Nolan (Jacob)
Denise Black (Pauline)