Jump to content


The Seagull - Anna Madeley


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
8 replies to this topic

#1 Theatresquirrel

Theatresquirrel

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 268 posts

Posted 12 February 2007 - 09:12 PM

Facelift withstanding, am kinda surprised there's been no mention on here of the big switcheroo in the Royal Court's Seagull.

Thursday night's show was preceded with the theatre manager coming onstage to announce that Carey Mulligan wouldn't be playing Nina as she'd contracted appendicitis so they'd rung round lots of actresses in the hope of finding someone to step in, and Anna Madeley (so good in the Donmar's Cosmonaut and Coram Boy) had just come on board. They warned us that she'd have the book with her, but wo ho ho ho ho, my good Uncle Moses, what a performance she gave.

In fact, it's kinda hard to imagine how this revered production could do without her. She's incandescent in it. Though it was right there before your eyes, I for one kept forgetting she had a script with her. It's one of the most exciting performances I've seen in donkeys years and easily holds its own with the brilliant Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kristin Scott Thomas. I hope Madeley is really given her dues for this. I'd love to see her again in the part, but in just her first go, she was vivid, lucent, sincere and very moving.

It's probably a separate thread to compare this with Katie Mitchell's production last year but I gotta say, I don't know why all the critics were crying sacrilege back then. This 'traditional' account is scarcely any different; yes, the scuttling servants are gone but to me, if anything, this only reduces the sense of tyranny and fear that whips around the matriarch Irina. Whether that matters is a moot point; in my eyes, Juliet Stevenson and Kristin Scott Thomas are equally as good and equally as valid. I missed Ben Whishaw's astonishing Konstantin, I missed the way he so stylishly and atmospherically staged his disastrous play-within-a-play, I missed the Doctor singing and dancing to Don Giovanni although Art Malik as the Doctor in the new production is just as radiant in his own way, and somehow in the new production the seagull itself doesn't seem half as potent.

But why do the critics insist on seeing Chekhov their way or the highway? Both interpretations were exquisitely effective in their own ways, and I'm glad that we have room for them both. Surely he's a big enough and strong enough writer now for us to welcome different takes on his work.



#2 josh

josh

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 741 posts
  • Location:London
  • Interests:theatre, movies, actors, acting, directing

Posted 12 February 2007 - 11:11 PM

QUOTE(Theatresquirrel @ Feb 12 2007, 09:12 PM) View Post
Facelift withstanding, am kinda surprised there's been no mention on here of the big switcheroo in the Royal Court's Seagull.

Thursday night's show was preceded with the theatre manager coming onstage to announce that Carey Mulligan wouldn't be playing Nina as she'd contracted appendicitis so they'd rung round lots of actresses in the hope of finding someone to step in, and Anna Madeley (so good in the Donmar's Cosmonaut and Coram Boy) had just come on board. They warned us that she'd have the book with her, but wo ho ho ho ho, my good Uncle Moses, what a performance she gave.

In fact, it's kinda hard to imagine how this revered production could do without her. She's incandescent in it. Though it was right there before your eyes, I for one kept forgetting she had a script with her. It's one of the most exciting performances I've seen in donkeys years and easily holds its own with the brilliant Chiwetel Ejiofor and Kristin Scott Thomas. I hope Madeley is really given her dues for this. I'd love to see her again in the part, but in just her first go, she was vivid, lucent, sincere and very moving.

It's probably a separate thread to compare this with Katie Mitchell's production last year but I gotta say, I don't know why all the critics were crying sacrilege back then. This 'traditional' account is scarcely any different; yes, the scuttling servants are gone but to me, if anything, this only reduces the sense of tyranny and fear that whips around the matriarch Irina. Whether that matters is a moot point; in my eyes, Juliet Stevenson and Kristin Scott Thomas are equally as good and equally as valid. I missed Ben Whishaw's astonishing Konstantin, I missed the way he so stylishly and atmospherically staged his disastrous play-within-a-play, I missed the Doctor singing and dancing to Don Giovanni although Art Malik as the Doctor in the new production is just as radiant in his own way, and somehow in the new production the seagull itself doesn't seem half as potent.

But why do the critics insist on seeing Chekhov their way or the highway? Both interpretations were exquisitely effective in their own ways, and I'm glad that we have room for them both. Surely he's a big enough and strong enough writer now for us to welcome different takes on his work.



How interesting! Do you know if Carey Mulligan has to be replaced permanently?  I'm seeing this in a few weeks, and I can't wait. I loved Katie Mitchell's production, and I'm glad to see you praising them both - most reviews were so critical of that production and so enamoured with this one!
He used to call me Blue Roses.

#3 foxa

foxa

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 361 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling
  • Location:London
  • Interests:Theatre (obviously), film, books, walking

Posted 13 February 2007 - 06:03 PM

From what I read, Carey Mulligan had an emergency appendix operation, so would be off for at least some time.

(Hmmm...this is my first post and I'm feeling all glitchy.  Too many options!)

#4 Guest_coated peanuts_*

Guest_coated peanuts_*
  • Guests

Posted 15 February 2007 - 11:35 PM

I saw the play last Friday and was distinctly underwhelmed. Kristin Scott Thomas was marvelous, Chiwetel Ejiofor was very good (I expecting him to be utterly brilliant, so any disappointment there should be chalked up to my extremely high expectations) , I really liked Art Malik's doctor and quite enjoyed Masha, but I was bored to tears whenever Mackenzie Crook and Anna Madley appeared on stage. He was beyond lifeless and she seemed too insipid for the role. Of course this could change once she has learned the part,  but what I saw didn't seem all that promising.


#5 Tootsie

Tootsie

    Advanced Member

  • Full Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 53 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:London
  • Interests:Lots of great theatre please!!<br />

Posted 16 February 2007 - 12:21 AM

I have to admit to finding the characters of Nine and Konstantin very unappealing and unsympathetic. I always think "just pull yourself together and sort yourself out" I find the group scenes in the play far more interesting and alive.

#6 Guest_Guest_*

Guest_Guest_*
  • Guests

Posted 20 February 2007 - 10:23 PM

NT

#7 Lynette

Lynette

    Advanced Member

  • Global Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 5142 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:London

Posted 21 February 2007 - 01:55 AM

Let's have a break from Seagulls from a couple of years now. There must other parts for older actresses who fancy a few weeks in the West End. Sorry to be tetchy, it's been that kind of day, but I hate it when one production of a good play follows on so quickly. It's like being made to read a book again a week after finishing it. Not many books can take that and not many plays.

#8 Guest_Guest_David_*_*

Guest_Guest_David_*_*
  • Guests

Posted 23 February 2007 - 04:58 PM

I haven't seen the Royal Court's Seagull but it's good news to hear that Anna Madeley is back on the London stage. In my opinion she is one of the best acresses of her generation around and I had feared that we had lost her to TV as she has been in several decent shows since last Autumn.

#9 Guest_Skylight_*

Guest_Skylight_*
  • Guests

Posted 16 March 2007 - 08:04 PM

QUOTE(coated peanuts @ Feb 15 2007, 11:35 PM) View Post
I saw the play last Friday and was distinctly underwhelmed. Kristin Scott Thomas was marvelous, Chiwetel Ejiofor was very good (I expecting him to be utterly brilliant, so any disappointment there should be chalked up to my extremely high expectations) , I really liked Art Malik's doctor and quite enjoyed Masha, but I was bored to tears whenever Mackenzie Crook and Anna Madley appeared on stage. He was beyond lifeless and she seemed too insipid for the role. Of course this could change once she has learned the part,  but what I saw didn't seem all that promising.

Finally managed to catch this before it disappears and I pretty much agree with the summing up above.  I wasn't desperate to see it and went with neither high nor low expectations.  The production made me think about the play afresh but 'distinctly underwhelmed' is the perfect phrase.

Kristin Scott Thomas was outstanding.  I think this is the first time I've seen Arkadina played with such strength and depth of character, rather than just as an ageing actress type.  Her power and control were tangible and I believed in her character entirely.

Carey Mulligan was equally superb.  I couldn't help wondering if she had been that good from the start or if the experience of being off ill had made her relax into/relish/cherish the role even more.  She had a simple naturalness in a role that is usually so overplayed.

Chiwetel Ejiofor was a strange one.  His Trigorin wasn't the charismatic dashing showman that directors usually present us with but a self conscious, slightly ill at ease, behind the scenes man (think David Edgar rather than Tom Stoppard  wink.gif ) .  At first I just didn't get his interpretation but as  the evening progressed I grew to appreciate the character below the surface.  I felt like I understood his relationships with both Arkadina and Nina, his motives and behaviours and why the doctor turned to him to communicate with Arkadina at the end.

With one exception, the rest of the cast were consistently competent and there was a general lean towards underplaying which left an impression of the characters rather than the actors.  The exception was Mackenzie Crook who was just awful.  Luckily his complete lack of everything an actor requires to justify their presence on stage meant that Konstantin felt like a rather minor character so his involvement didn't altogether write off the evening.

Overall there was much to consider in terms of the presentation and characterisation but the version was long and wordy and the direction exceptionally slow.  At times I noticed that I didn't believe that the characters were going anywhere when they went off stage which is not a good sign.  I don't understand the rave reviews and I could have lived without seeing it but I appreciate Kristin Scott Thomas' performance and the end which beautifully, terrifyingly captured the complex power, love and desperation at the heart of these relationships.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users