Opened 30 May 2007
Written: by Maxim Gorky, in a new version by Andrew Upton
Directed: Howard Davies
Produced: National Theatre
Cast: Rory Kinnear (Pyotr), Ruth Wilson (Tanya), Conleth Hill (Teterev), Phil Davis (Vassilly), Mark Bonnar (Nil), Duncan Bell (Perchikin), Jonathan Bryan (Shyshkin), Marcus Cunningham (Doctor ), Susannah Fielding (Polya), Rendah Heywood (Tsvetaeva), Stephanie Jacob (Akulina), Maggie McCarthy (Stepanida), Justine Mitchell (Elena)
Synopsis: A restless bunch of young radicals hang out, have sex, dance, drink, moan and philosophise at the home of a prosperous decorator. While Pyotr, a sometime student of law, falls for the lovely, loose-living lodger, his sister Tanya carps on about the tedium of life, lusts after Nil – who’s blind to her charms but in pursuit of the servant – and botches her own suicide.
What the popular press had to say.....
NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Davies's over-leisurely production does not draw the class lines clearly. It does, though, offer a unique and rousing theatrical impression of Russian youth, on the verge of revolution, struggling to escape the bonds of repressive paternal power." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "This is an astonishing first play that provoked the Russian censors in 1902 and brilliantly uses the disintegration of one petit-bourgeois family to hint at the vast political upheavals to come...Beautifully naturalistic production, which is as good as anything in London, there is rich comedy in the portrait of this exploding family." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "There is much to enjoy in a production brimming with marvellous performances...It's good to see a dead white male such as Gorky revived with such panache at Nicolas Hytner's PC NT!" BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "Observant, atmospheric revival." PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says, "The play is a fascinating compendium of the different ways in which people respond to, fail to respond to, or resist change."