Monday, 27 June 2011


The good thing about being ignorant of the theatre is going to see famous plays and not knowing the plot. We saw Seagull at the Arcola (a new translation of Chekov's The Seagull, they'd modernly dropped 'The' - I suggested they could have added an exclamation mark too, like this - 'Seagull!' And maybe some song & dance routines to liven it up?)

It was good to watch it without knowing the story and it was such a quality cast you knew you were in good hands. Geraldine James as the very actressy actress and Roger Lloyd Pack (aka Trigger from Only Fools & Horses) as the doctor. We sat in the front row so in the Arcola you are on a level with them - this was thrilling being in the middle of it though I was a bit anxious they were going to trip over our feet as they stormed on and off stage.

It was the young ones who made it though. The main character is Valentin, who could come across as a moany annoying pain in the arse, but the actor (Al Weaver) made him so real, so vulnerable & lost, it made me cry (and I am very stony hearted usually.) We saw this actor having a drink outside afterwards. M said 'You were brilliant.' He blushed. And the girl who played Nina, an actor with the splendid name of Yolanda Kettle, all luminous and beautiful, starting out all joie de vivre and being fucked over and slowly coming unravelled - brilliant.

I read a couple of reviews which said it was too slow and creaky and boring. Mainly from young reviewers. I don't think it's a young person's play. It's all about worrying about money and unrequited love and how your dreams and hopes get crushed in time and how people can be casually cruel and wreck each other's lives without thinking. (But also funny.) I probably wouldn't have wanted to know this in my twenties either.