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The Seagull

Southwark Playhouse Matthew Kelly

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#1 Nicholas

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:01 AM

This is coming at a pretty good time for Chekhov in London, but I'm always a bit skeptical of "versions" of plays and know nothing about the adaptor.  I think it starts Thursday - is anyone planning to see it?  Apparently Lily James, who plays Nina, is also in Downton Abbey, so I look forwards to Peter Hall heckling her during her most important speech.

#2 dude-1981

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:17 AM

You didn't catch Spur of the Moment or The Acid Test upstairs at the Court then? I enjoyed both a lot & thought The Acid Test showed a real step forward for such a young writer.

Looking forward to this on Monday.
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#3 RedRose

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 06:39 AM

Lily James was a very good Desdemona in the Crucible's Othello. Would love to see her in this.
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#4 Epicoene

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 08:10 AM

View PostNicholas, on 06 November 2012 - 12:01 AM, said:

This is coming at a pretty good time for Chekhov in London, but I'm always a bit skeptical of "versions" of plays and know nothing about the adaptor.  I think it starts Thursday - is anyone planning to see it?  Apparently Lily James, who plays Nina, is also in Downton Abbey, so I look forwards to Peter Hall heckling her during her most important speech.

As I pointed out over in that thread Hall himself had Downton's own Michelle Dockery in his own lacklustre production of Uncle Vanya at Kingston. The Downton actors are all pretty low wattage stage presences (save Dame Maggie), especially since Iain Glen was written out. Just by way of idle gossip, one of them is rumoured to be the proud owner of a super injunction against the press - it is always amusing to read the odd little stories they publish about him/her which hints at this.

#5 VDCNI

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 09:24 AM

Downton does have Penelope Wilton as well though yes few of the others have done much on stage.

#6 Lynette

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:22 PM

View PostEpicoene, on 06 November 2012 - 08:10 AM, said:

As I pointed out over in that thread Hall himself had Downton's own Michelle Dockery in his own lacklustre production of Uncle Vanya at Kingston. The Downton actors are all pretty low wattage stage presences (save Dame Maggie), especially since Iain Glen was written out. Just by way of idle gossip, one of them is rumoured to be the proud owner of a super injunction against the press - it is always amusing to read the odd little stories they publish about him/her which hints at this.
'Idle gossip' yes but pretty old news. Who doesn't know who this is?

#7 Epicoene

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:41 PM

View PostLynette, on 06 November 2012 - 12:22 PM, said:

'Idle gossip' yes but pretty old news. Who doesn't know who this is?

Don't know - shall we have a vote on it ?

#8 mallardo

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

Yet another sad attempt to improve Chekhov.  Not only has this Seagull been updated - Masha smokes pot, Konstantin writes his plays on a computer, Shamrayev drives a Land Rover -  it has been reset to the Isle of Man so the big city that Sorin dreams of seeing is London, not Moscow. And yet THE CHARACTERS ARE STILL RUSSIANS!  Their cultural references are Russian - Trigorin still compares himself unfavourably to Tolstoy.  Perhaps Arkadina is a star in the Russian emigre community theatre, who knows?  Who cares?  The point is that the update and relocation are utterly without consequences  - except to add a layer of anachronistic confusion - and thus utterly pointless and, in truth, stupid.

The production is a non-production - a few props on an empty floor - so it's all on the actors.  And some of them come through. First and foremost is Lily James who has to play Nina as a giddy fan girl through the first two acts and yet has the talent to make it work.  But when her big I-am-the-seagull moment comes in act 4 she is luminous and amazing.  Anthony Howell's Trigorin is also very good and, more importantly, interesting.  The Trigorin-Nina scenes are easily the highlights of the play.

Sasha Waddell, as Arkadina, is a good actress but Arkadina is a charismatic diva and Ms Waddell has all the charisma of an understudy. Matthew Kelly is no one's idea of Doctor Dorn.  In his hands the brooding womanizer becomes a buffoon and this seriously undermines the performances of those who have to interact with him.  Joseph Drake's Konstantin is one note earnestness and deadly dull.  Malcolm Tierney's Sorin is a nice nuanced performance though, despite the fact that he seems more like Arkadina's father than her older brother.

The programme is a play text so you get to read what the adaptor, Anya Reiss, has done to Chekhov's dialogue.  It's not pretty.
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#9 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 12:46 PM

What a shame. I was rather looking forward to this. Looked promising.

You say "Yet another sad attempt to improve Chekhov". Did you like the YV 3 Sisters?



#10 mallardo

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 12:51 PM

Pharaoh's,  no, I did not like the Young Vic's Three Sisters - I hated it.  So that's where I'm coming from.  If you had a different view you might like this one as well.
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