The Library Theatre Company
21 February to 8 March 2014
Reviewed by Ann Durrell
This production by Anya Reiss of the classic 19th Chekhov play, The Seagull, is set in modern times at a country estate set by a lake. It has comedic value whilst showing the artistic struggles between generations and trials and tribulations of love.
Sorin is elderly and reflective of his life, although he has been successful as a judge he is remorseful that he never became a writer or married. His sister Arkadina is a successful but aging actress, visiting the estate with her lover Trigorin, a renowned writer who has achieved fame but does not enjoy his own works, some could say he feels he has not realised his true potential. When he meets Nina, an aspiring actress she seems to ignite something in him.
Konstantin is Arkadina’s son, he is an aspiring playwright, early in the show he puts on a play for the group but when they laugh he storms off ending it midway. His modernist ideas cause conflict between him and his mother, although ultimately he is just looking for her approval. The only member of the community who appreciates his artistic abilities is Dorn the estate doctor although his uncle Sorin also seems very fond of him and sympathetic to his predicament. Konstantin feels he is living in the shadow of his mother and her lover and earns to be a respected in his own right. He is in love with Nina, who he casts in the leading role but when she spurns his advances it has a profound effect on him, sinking him into depression.
Nina, an aspiring actress, wide eyed and naive, is in love with the idea of fame and fourteen, innocent to what else this may bring, she is in awe of Trigorin, almost idolizing him and his lifestyle.
Shamrayev is the estate manager, he is a difficult man but he wants to fit in with his bohemian counterparts, telling tales of his experiences of theatre going which to his frustration are not as amusing to the rest of the group and he would want, his wife Polina is unhappy in her marriage and is in love with the doctor Dorn. Their daughter Masha is a dreamer, in love with Konstantin but she realises that his affections lay elsewhere and ultimately sacrifices her feelings by marrying Medvedenko a school teacher who has been in love with her for years. Polina sees similarities between her life and her daughters.
Whilst I felt that all of the actors were fabulous, the stand out performances for me were Ben Allen and Sophie Robinson. I felt Allen captured the troubled and somewhat childish character of Konstantin perfectly, the audience emphasised with him and wished that he could become the success he strived to be and win the woman he loves. Robinson’s portrayal of Nina was again excellent, capturing the innocence of a young girl brought up in the countryside attracted by fame and fortune. I enjoyed seeing the character change later in the play when Nina returns with a slightly different view of the world of theatre.
I enjoyed this production, finding it amusing and entertaining and would recommend it.
Tickets cost from £15.50 to £22 (includes £2 booking fee).
For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
Tip: if you spend £5 or more in any of the stores or restaurants at The Lowry Shopping Mall, ask them to validate your car park ticket for 4 hours free parking. If you are not intending to make a purchase or eat on site, you can also pre-pay your parking at the car park office on the ground floor for £6. Saves time queuing after a show.