Cherry Orchard

Saturday, 7 December, 1996

Mme Ranyevskaya (Penelope Wilton) returns from Paris to discover that the estate is in debt. However, Lopakin ( David Troughton), a self made rich man whose father was a peasant who once worked for the family, recommends they sell the cherry orchard to building developers who would build an housing estate on it. But Ranyevskaya and her brother refuse to sell and so stand to lose the whole estate when creditors force the sale of the estate at auction.

Having seen 'The Seagull' and 'Uncle Vanya' and not enjoyed them, I was skeptical about seeing 'The Cherry orchard'. My concerns were well founded, yet again I didn't like a Chekhov play. He certainly is not one of my favourite playwrights. Maybe I just don't understand him and what he is trying to say. I guess the play has something to do with the time when the peasants were beginning to gain more freedom and the power of the Gentry was decreasing. What ever, the story contained a lot of chit chat about nothing particularly important. Although there are some good lines, the story just isn't strong enough to sustain nearly 3 hours.

The acting by the RSC as ever, is very competent with no one really standing out above the rest and the set is basic although serves its purpose.

This is one for Chekhov fans only.

(Darren Dalglish)

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