The Cherry Orchard

Apart from some jarring colloquialisms in Aussie Andrew Upton’s sprightly
new version, Howard Davies’ production of Chekhov’s 1904 comedy is a treat.

The faded wood of Bunny Christie’s design opens out to expose the sadness
beneath the extravagance of Zoë Wanamaker’s bankrupt landowner, the emergent
power of the lower classes is signalled by the telegraph wires overhead and,
in a large cast, there isn’t a single dud performance.

Impressive comic contributions come from Tim McMullan’s visiting neighbour
(a Russian Hooray Henry without any funds) and Pip Carter’s clumsy estate
manager, whilst Mark Bonnar’s perpetual student and Claudie Blakley’s
unhappy Varya add, respectively, political passion and poignancy.

rounded of all, Conleth Hill’s awkward Lopakhin conveys all the
contradictory emotions of a self-made serf whose wealth only partially
counterbalances his background.


Olivier at the National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX
020 7452 3000
Tube: Waterloo
Until August 13
£12 – £30 as part of the Travelex season 

– Louise Kingsley