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Monday, 20 November 2017

The Cherry Orchard at Nottingham Playhouse


We were out again at the theatre last week - not on the Twitter-trending #LoveTheatreDay, but near enough - to see Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. As a play about the end of an era it was especially fitting, as, after 18 years as artistic director, this was the last production to be directed by Giles Croft at Nottingham Playhouse.

It's a tale of landed gentry, who after years of squandering money are forced to sell their family home to cover debts. Local self-made millionaire Lopakhin believes there's a way to avoid this by developing the eponymous cherry orchard and building holiday homes there, but the family aren't interested; they moan about losing their home and precious orchard but won't do anything to save either. I thought John Elkington was brilliant as Lopakhin (but I'm a bit biased since my youngest was in a production of Kes with him), though if Chekhov's not your thing then you can see him in pantomime soon.
It's probably not the done thing to pick fault with a playwrite of Chekhov's standing, but I'm beginning to wonder if he quite knew how to end a play. When I saw The Seagull a while ago, I thought 'well, I'd have ended things a little earlier'. Same here. There's a moment when everyone has left the stage, and a key is heard 'off' turning in a lock. That's where I'd drop the curtain. Instead there's a 'tidying up' piece from old family servant Firs. Presumably Chekhov knew what he was doing though.







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