Peter McGarry is an experienced,
independent professional theatre critic who has agreed to
review Talisman Theatre productions.
Peter is free to express his opinions for good or ill. The
Talisman Theatre has no control whatsoever over the content
of these reviews and will not comment publicly on what he
most poignant play is all about status and a changing social
infrastructure. Written over 100 years ago, it resonates
with issues and concerns that still underpin any society
along with its literary grandeur and penetrating characterisations,
makes it a work that will never lack relevance for a modern
John Dawson directs what can be seen as a contemporary version.
Not modernised as a total concept, but reflecting more of
an everyman interpretation. Its people, in varying garbs,
are timeless in their attitudes, emotions, weaknesses and
this impressive production has to cater for the dual nature
of the play - a mix of comedy and tragedy which emanates
from Anton Chekhov's own wildly erratic personality traits
during the lengthy writing of what was to be his final and
possibly most popular theatrical endeavour.
superbly assembled cast effectively divides the various
characters into Russian aristocrats and working classes
to examine the fading power of the gentry against the irresistible
rise of the serfs. In reality, revolution was not far away
and the prescient nature of the piece is ultimately startling.
central figure, Lyubov, is a woman returning to her ancestral
home to escape from a broken relationship and the death
of her child. Julie-Ann Randell essays the part with a vitality
that encompasses a defensive over-brightness and its subsequent
despair. A fine performance indeed.
her is a wealth of observant playing, notably from Molly
Ives and Leigh Walker as her contrasting daughters, one
spirited and optimistic, the other moody and repressed,
and Colin Ritchie as a bombastic former land worker savouring
his new accession to power.
is no weak link in any quarter and even if the true period
mood of the Chekhov original does feel somewhat diluted
by this version, John Ellam's atmospheric set design cleverly
bridges the time factor.
is a triumph for the Talisman.