The Cherry Orchard : Anton Chekhov
Young Vic Theatre,
66 The Cut,
London SE1 8LZ
7.45, mats Wed, Sat 2.30m
Runs 1hr 50mins without interval. To 13 11 14
TICKETS: 020 7922 2922.
Discounts including under 26s (£10); free to Southwark and Lambeth residents,
phone 0207 922 2920 (Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm)
Review by: Carole Woddis of performance seen Oct 16, 2014:
Less is more in this powerful production
What a difference a day makes. Two Chekhovs – one real, the other Chekhov-lite. Both modern, new English versions. But one feeling the width and girth of Chekhov, the other lopping off bits so that the end result is adequate but thin.
Chekhov isn’t thin. Chekhov is multi-layered, rich in cross-currents – human, environmental, political. Above all, he is humanising telling us what a mess we human beings are making of things, what a mess most of us are but how we do try to do better, often without success. His plays seek for an optimistic outcome if seldom finding it. How like life!
Katie Mitchell, so often experimental with textures and especially interaction with film and video, tries nothing of the kind here.
A conventional theatre staging by her standards, its benefits are singular and huge.
Its weight and strength is precisely in its simplicity, its outcome like watching human behaviour under a microscope, so carefully charted in every detail the encounters between characters in the Ranevskaya household.
Embarrassment, awkwardness is the keynote, as if each character grows a nervous tic when another human being is by.
Running in at just under two hours – characters never just appear in a doorway; they hurtle in as if propelled by an unstoppable force – it seems much shorter.
But then everything is of a piece, from Simon Stephens pliable, unobtrusive adaptation to Vicki Mortimer’s peeling, haunted living room at once light and airy but which at the turn of a shutter handle assumes the hermetic chill of a room already deserted by life. It carries a fantastic sense of place.
And class. Dominic Rowan’s Lopakhin is very much the modern capitalist feeling his power after generations of serfdom under Kate Duchêne’s Ranevskaya who knows only too well the wrong turnings she has taken in life. Angus Wright’s Gaev is a shattered husk, seeking comfort in platitude – but also deeply moving in his address to his beloved bookcase `committed to holding the best of all possible ideas and to storing and protecting goodness and justice,’ – a speech that in today’s digitalised kindle world carries renewed, powerful resonances.
The Cherry Orchard:
By Anton Chekhov
In a new English language version by Simon Stephens
Post Office Clerk: Cavan Clarke
Wanderer: Andy Cresswell
Lyubov Ranevskaya: Kate Duchêne
Firs: Gawn Grainger
Peter Trofimov: Paul Hilton
Station Master: Peter Hobday
Boris Simeonov-Pischik: Stephen Kennedy
Varya: Natalie Klamar
Charlotte Ivanovna: Sarah Malin
Yasha: Tom Mothersdale
Dunyasha: Sarah Ridgeway
Alexander Lopakhin: Dominic Rowan
Simeon Yepikhodov: Hugh Skinner
Anya: Catrin Stewart
Leonid Gaev: Angus Wright
Direction: Katie Mitchell
Design: Vicki Mortimer
Costumes: Sussie Juhlin-Wallén
Light: James Farncombe
Sound: Gareth Fry
Music: Paul Clark
Movement: Joseph Alford
Casting: Wendy Spon CDG
Magic: Richard Pinner
Associate Director: Matthew Evans
Jerwood Assistant Director: Caitriona Shoobridge
Literal Translation: Helen Rappaport
Susi Chiltern (clarinet); Meg Hamilton (violin); Tony Kiley (percussion)
Caitriona Shoobridge is supported through the Jerwood Assistant Directors Programme at the Young Vic
First perf of this production of The Cherry Orchard at the Young Vic, Oct 10, 2014