03 March 2007

The Seagull by Anton Chekov in a version by Christopher Hampton

Arkadina – Kristen Scott Thomas
Konstantin - – Mackennzie Crook
Sorin – Peter Wight
Nina - Carey Mulligan
Shamraev - Paul Jesson
Polina - Denise Black
Masha – Katherine Parkinson
Trigorin - Chiwetel Ejiofor
Dorn - Art Malik
Medvedenko – Pearce Quigley
Yakov - Christopher Patrick Nolan
Maid – Mary Rose

Directed by Ian Rickson and designed by Hildegard Bechtler

During this version’s premiere run at the Royal Court - B6

A remarkable vision of this play. I felt a sense of duty when I bought the tickets because I had seen Ben Whishaw's Konstantin only a few months ago and it was hard to imagine Mr Crook in the role.....very hard. I now see that in this ensemble he was perfectly cast. I think everyone was and right down to the detail of the maid. All the bustling attendant staff had been jetisoned for this one lower servant and a couple of higher standing. There was more than enough going on in the play to not need their choreography.

The most astonishing thing was this was all played for laughs until act three. It worked marvelously well. It was a blessing to see Kristen Scott Thomas instead of Juliet Stephenson. I know I shouldn't compare and I really can't because my seat at the Lyttleton was several yards farther from the stage than I was tonight (perhaps a little too close!).

This was the most engaging production of The Seagull I have ever seen (and I have witnessed Dame Judy Dench & Bill Nighy in my time). I can always trust Christopher Hampton (with the possible exception of that film he directed).

Celeb in the audience:- Stephen Campbell Moore.