City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Cherry Orchard, Fringe 2013, Review

By Vivien Devlin - Posted on 13 August 2013

Cherry Orchard - publicity image
Show details
Kronos Productions
Running time: 
Ben Weaver-Hincks, Felix Stevenson (directors), James Watkins (Light and Sound)
Daisy Cummins (Louise), Beth Johnson (Anna), Grace Cheatle (Catherine), Hendry Yorke (Leonard), Felix Stevenson (Alfie), Michael Forde (Peter), Caitlin McEwan (Holly), Theo Harrison (Simon)

In Chekhov's 1904 comic-drama, a Russian aristocratic family is affected by changing politics and the new social class order. Lyubov Ranevsky has just returned from Paris to find that her family estate is seriously in debt.

She and her brother Leonid need to sell land and consider cutting down their beloved cherry orchard. But nostalgia and a sense of pride create an unwillingness to give up their life of luxury and privilege. In contrast, Lopakhin as the son of a peasant is ambitious for a brighter future.

Kronos Productions has updated the setting to 1980s Britain when Margaret Thatcher was in charge of sweeping political, economic and social changes. The premise sounds like an inspired plan.

Louisa Richman and her brother Leonard have to decide whether to sell the family estate due to financial pressure. Alfie Freeman has the aspiration to get on his bike and succeed in business.

Working out who’s who (daughters, servants, friends) compared to the original character names, is rather confusing at the start.

Adopting Sloane Ranger, upper class accents, they wander around aimlessly, bored and bewildered with vapid expressions. One reads a copy of Vogue. A few speak in a speedy monotone (as if glad to finish their lines) without engaging naturally in conversation.

The plot of Chekhov’s original bittersweet tale should be full of light, ironic humour and simmering with unspoken romantic ideals amidst a moody sense of intrigue. Sadly, not witnessed in this production.

This new translation and revival is apparently the result of a five-month collaboration between Durham and Oxford students, professors and alumni.

The writing may have taken several months but the rehearsals probably just a couple of days judging by the lacklustre, unemotional performances.

It was as if they all just wanted to sell the house as soon as possible and head off to the pub.

Show times

1-17 August, 2013, 9.05pm

Ticket prices

£8.50 - £10.50 (£6.50-£8.50)
Children: £4.50-£6.50.