Theatre: The Cherry Orchard

Thanks to the West End Whingers, I had long held a ticket to Tuesday night's preview of The Cherry Orchard. This was a show that Time Out listed this week as the one thing you should go and see. I always have relied on friends, bloggers or just passing people on the street to be slightly fashionable and this was no exception. I was lucky too as the play turned out to be a real treat.

Confusingly however, I had the play in my diary as the Bridge Project. Well that is the name of the co-production between the Old Vic, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Neal Street Productions, under the direction of Sam Mendes. The acting troupe including Simon Russell Beale, Ethan Hawke and Rebecca Hall will perform Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard and Shakespeare's The Winters Tale at the Old Vic over the summer here before continuing to various other locations around the world for the next two years. It has been described as a new model for theatrical productions , which hopefully does not turn out to be some sort of enslavement for actors. Afterall the works they are performing are not exactly light fare.

Having not seen Chekhov's play before, I found it all rather fascinating. There was something very appealing and topical about a play where unpaid mortgages and changing times were at the heart of the drama. The comedy of this play (if you believe the notes and other reviews) has been heightened and the long soliloquies many of the characters have to deliver were all rather imaginatively staged and delivered.

Of course it helped having Feigned Mischief sit beside me. As more than just a casual fan of Simon Russell Beale, she took enjoyment of the play to a whole new level. I wasn't too sure if she cared so much about Chekhov, but she was focussed on Simon's part. Actually I didn't mention it to her, but in a way I could appreciate what she likes about Simon. He he is a bit grrr woof (if you like that sort of thing). All of London who reads the Saturday Times have some idea of Feigned Mischief's devotion to SRB as well. She informed me that she is going quite a few more times to see both plays in the Bridge Project so your chances of seeing her at the Old Vic are probably quite good... But then again even if you're not sitting next to a Simon Russell Beale stalker, it is still worth a look...

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