The Seagull ★★★★★ Harold Pinter Theatre | Jun 29 - Sep 10, 2022


Chekhov is often cited as an exponent of naturalism in the theatre, but he does not set out simply to mirror quotidian reality. Like Dickens', Chekhov's world and characters are familiar yet unique. They, and the place they inhabit, are both recognisable and hermetically symbolic. This production by Jamie Lloyd wisely eschews the temptation to stage The Seagull in "realistic" manner. The actors weave both their place and presence mainly through Chekhov's words, and movement and interaction are kept to a minimum. The audience's imagination is engaged to create the characters' spectrum of despair and their sense of isolation. Anya Reiss' translation does a fine a job of bringing out the playwright's oft-missed humour. The contemporary references generally worked well, but a couple seemed rather jarring, creating an unnecessary context for the piece. This is simply a first-rate ensemble cast. Emilia Clarke creates a wonderfully winsome Nina. Indira Varma is a delightfully arch Arkadina, and Daniel Monks does a fine job as the insecure Konstantin. It is no small feat to create a definitive version of a classic, but Jamie Lloyd with this team of creatives and superb cast have done it.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Marc Brenner.

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