Last night I was invited along to Sherman Theatre to review The Cherry Orchard. With the likes of Richard Mylan (Killology), Denise Black (Queer as Folk) and one of my favourite performers Alexandria Riley (How My Light Is Spent and Hang), I have been so desperate to see this performance it hurt!
After catching Gary Owen’s Killology I knew we were in for something that would offer intrigue, surprise as well as truly making the audience reflect, think and question… well, everything! I wasn’t wrong; the play belted out 80’s tunes, had a few digs at Margaret Thatcher and debated social conflicts. Yes, I was in heaven.
The Cherry Orchard by Gary Owen
The story is an adaptation of Chekhov’s 1903 play by the same title. It follows the story of a family in the 80’s who are on the brink of losing their manor house, Bloomfield; a house where Rainey’s children have grown up surrounded by fields, rolling hills towards the sea and beautiful orchards to play in. But, after the death of Joe, Rainey’s son, Rainey fled to London leaving her daughters to fend for themselves. When the manor house is under threat Rainey begrudgingly returns and what ensues is a series of haunting memories, angry exchanges and a sense of a greater social injustice through the eyes of the lower class.
I have so much to say, debate and talk about with regards to this play. I watched with eager anticipation of what was to come, and when it finished I was left feeling slightly bereft, wondering how each character evolved after the play had ended. Silly I know, to get attached to characters, but Owen has this funny way with his writing to make it so. His dialogue is outstanding; clever, dark and witty all at once and this is the reason I left worrying about the characters and wondering how it turned out for them.
The story is simple to follow, but like any simple story, there are complications and confrontations between characters. Owens has a way to make you think, really think. By turning a 1903 play into a a play set in 1982, we as the audience are able to relate more closely to the undercurrent of a ruthless government (my opinion of course…) and the class amongst classes. This storyline affected me the most, and as I left the theatre I realised it’s still so relevant to today and the experiences we are sure to endure in the not so distant future.
As for the performers, well what can I say?! Even Warren said how fabulous they were. Each character was perfectly portrayed and I found a special place in my heart for Dottie (Alexandria Riley); I could relate to her, at times I felt how she felt and Riley just has this remarkable way about her upon the stage, as if she was always meant to be there.
I can’t really go on because I’d be here all day, from the soundtrack to the costume, the outstanding relationship amongst the performers (which is evident) to the superb dialogue, this play is a must-see!
The Cherry Orchard is running until 3rd November 2017 and tickets start from £16. I know they’ve already extended the show, but I say keep the extension going!
Disclosure: I received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.