"Without doubt, nothing happens here"
by Paul Dunn for remotegoat on 30/10/11

Victor Sobchak's dire production fails on pretty much every level.

He shuffles his actors around the stage like a novice chess player blindly pushes the pieces around the board, but beyond that he appears to have bestowed nothing whatsoever of a director's eye on this piece. Settings are unclear and scene changes go practically unmarked. Opportunity upon opportunity to create interest, drama or tension is simply thrown away. The whole thing lacks energy, pace and any sense of drama (or, indeed, comedy) and feels like a cold reading by a bunch of bored and reluctant GCSE students.

Performances, too, are for the most part woeful. Ranging from monotonous, through wooden, to downright derisory, there is very little evidence of any kind of thought-through characterisation or motivation, resulting in a display of one dimensional automatons who simply traded lines of speech and seem to care very little for either themselves or each other.

The one notable exception to this is Simon Dobson, who excels as Lebedev. His performance is assured and effortless, getting every scene, every relationship, just right. It's not so noticeable, perhaps, during the bigger scenes where other characters are more of a distraction, but in the moments where he converses with just one or two others he displays a dignified superiority and a masterly command of the script and of the stage.

Productions such as this are a perfect example of why so many people are put off Chekov. "It is such torture for me to stay here," says Ivanov at one point during act one and, frankly, by then I was feeling exactly the same.

Add your review? Have your say, add your review

Other recent reviews by Paul Dunn
Richard III by William Shak... Dramatic and thrilling Shakespeare production
Dance Across the Tyne Moving, entertaining, brilliant Community Play
The fifteen streets An enjoyable and faithful rendition
And A Nightingale Sang by C... A stylish and classy production
Yes, prime minister Humour in corridors of Whitehall
Much ado about nothing Witty, stylish, and very funny
The Next Train To Depart Great performances, script and direction
Charley's Aunt by Brandon T... Classic farce needs more pace
The Killing of Sister Georg... Excellent production with outstanding performances
Dad's Army by Jimmy Perry &... Don't Panic! We're not doomed!
Quick Bright Things by Alis... Interesting take on a Dream
The Crucible Casting a captivating, dramatic spell.
A Streetcar Named Desire Alight here for desirable production
Harold Pinter - short plays This production is (pause) superb!
My Big Gay Italian Wedding Accept this hilarious wedding invitation!
Hamlet Smith Unapologetically cynical view on living
I Have a Dream... Entertaining, dramatic and thought provoking
Double Act - Studio Theatre Playing ALL the right notes
Kid Arthur and the Knights ... Thought provoking but somewhat inconsistent
Casual Violence: Choose Dea... Choose to see this show