Although theatre/drama is not particularly this reviewer’s cup of tea, it is clear that Theatre Alba actors’ performance abilities, Jo Clifford’s interpretation of Chekov’s play and the clever outdoor setting is 4-star worthy.
The play is performed in Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens. Initially, the prospect of sitting outdoors for a 2 hour 30 minute play sounds dire. However, bring a few blankets and a thermos of a hot beverage and you’re all set. The Loch setting and beautiful gardens makes the play come alive; audience members feel as though they are not just observers but also bearing silent witness to the happenings in the Cherry Orchard. Musicians provide an excellent accompaniment to the play, evoking an Old-World atmosphere and enhancing the central emotional dichotomy in the play.
Theatre Alba’s actors are cast perfectly for the play, with Corinne Harris leading as Madame Ranevskaya (Lyubov Andreyevna). Each character in the play has a complex personality, which is further divided by their moral dilemmas and philosophical debates. Beautifully played by John McColl, Lopahin’s duality resonates strongly with the audience’s understanding of generational pain conflicting with the joys of self-actualisation. Harris’ excellent portrayal of Lyubov, her romanticism of the past versus its contribution to her current suffering, perfectly captures the Russian dame mentality. Mike Daviot is a great choice for Trofimov, the eternal student. Considered to symbolise Western modernity in the play, Daviot’s Trofimov is a complete juxtaposition to Lyubov’s character, rendering the audience further ensnarled in the distorted perceptions of the characters.
The characters maintain a constant internal and external dynamic tension, rendering the audience keenly aware of the character’s flaws and thus never sympathetic to one character for extended periods of times. This perfectly captures the feeling that Chekov wanted his audiences to experience: the struggle of reconciling with the past, the disgruntled acceptance of the present and the desperate hope for a better future.
By Ingrida Dornbrook
28 August, 19:30 (22:00) @ Duddingston Kirk Manse Gardens