Kristin Scott Thomas, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mackenzie Crook star in Chekhov’s The Seagull, which opened at the Royal Court last night (25 January 2007, previews from 18 January) – the second of three stagings of the 1896 classic from the UK’s leading theatrical institutions (following Katie Mitchell’s National Theatre production and ahead of Trevor Nunn’s RSC production, See News, 31 Jul 2006).

Ejiofor plays Trigorin, the literary lover of Scott Thomas’ ageing actress Madame Arkadina. Crook is Arkadina’s troubled son Konstantin in a cast that also features Carey Mulligan (as Nina), Katherine Parkinson (Masha), Peter Wight (Sorin), Pearce Quigley (Medviedenko), Paul Jesson (Shamraeff), Patrick Nolan (Jacob), Denise Black (Paulina) and Art Malik (Dorn).

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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the post-show party at the Royal Court’s bar, along with the cast, director Ian Rickson, and other guests including actor Richard E Grant and film director Stephen Frears, whose recent work includes the Oscar-nominated The Queen.

The Seagull, in a new version by Christopher Hampton, marks the final offering in the theatre’s year-long 50th anniversary season and the swansong production from outgoing artistic director Ian Rickson. It runs in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs until 17 March 2007.

- by Caroline Ansdell