FESTIVAL – The Seagull – STC Scenic Workshop – 4.5K

241712-308x312By Peter Maddern

If one can’t live with the vagaries of life and the basic assumption about how ordinary we all really are, then unrequited love and thwarted ambition can be a decent old drag. Chekhov’s The Seagull is full of such maligned people; lovers for whom the stars will not align and talent that will never match that of others. When both come together one has a bunch of very unhappy campers.

As much as The Seagull is described as a tragi-comedy, it makes extraordinary demands on many of its players and the Brookmans have called up old (and some new) favourites to pull this excellent production off.

Perhaps first amongst equals is Rosalba Clemente’s Arkadina, mother of the much troubled Konstantin and in love with the self-centred Trigorin. As she endeavours to sustain the credibility of her fading acting career, so Arkadina’s attempts to keep her own world together, never seeing where the seismic cracks in it are appearing elsewhere. Falkland’s socialite portrayal is simply a delight that dominates the play from the outset.

Renato Musolino, last Festival’s STCSA pin-up boy, as Trigorin cruises around in tight, neat attire that nicely captures this lecherous snake’s real being. Musolino smarms and smiles in equal measure as he torpedoes the lives of those around him. Xavier Samuel as Konstantin shows he’s more than a stud muffin that can be heated up for the silver screen. Samuel digs deep to successfully portray a troubled and unfulfilled your man desperately in search of a father to guide him through his various dismays.

No review of the players would be complete without mentioning the younger ladies’ work. Lucy Fry’s Nina presents beautifully as a catch worthy of any man, but sadly while we relish her youth, we wince at her pain as her innocence gets betrayed by those who should have known better. While Matilda Bailey continues her rapid rise up the local ranks with an often at times joyful Marsha.

The Scenic Workshop has its challenges as a venue but again Geordie Brookman has drawn on old friends to maximise its potential with Geoff Cobham’s lighting and set design spot on – it all seemed so natural – and the ability of audience members to see how their counterparts are reacting across the stage makes for an added nuance.

Hilary Bell’s adaptation works well, especially the use of Matthew Gregan’s music and songs.

All in all this is a creative and superbly produced and performed play. One can’t but be moved by the last scene (and pity those who bailed at the interval) with many of the extended exchanges throughout the whole between various characters enough to make one sit up very straight and take notice.

To be sure this Seagull soars.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

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