Steam Productions triple bill of short Chekhov plays, under the umbrella title, ‘From Chekhov With Love’ makes for a relaxed, humorous night at the theatre.
In ‘The Jubilee’, (director Gavin Williams), Lynden Jones plays a pompous bank manager in a buoyant mood about to deliver a speech to members in celebration of the bank’s 15th anniversary. Unfortunately, everything goes wrong. His clerk, despite not having slept for three nights, still hasn’t finished writing the speech. His wife expectantly comes back from holidays and is full of stories that he doesn’t have time for. A petulant, middle aged woman storms into his office, demanding compensation for her husband being sacked by the company he worked for. In the end, Lynden Jones’s Andry Andryeevich is as stressed and frazzled looking as John Cleese on his worst day.
There’s a great twist in the beautifully crafted, ‘The Bear’ (director Jerome Pride). Sylvia Keays plays recently widowed Elena who, out of respect for her late husband, has become a hermit. Her servant Luka (Dave Kirkham) is worried as to what will become of her. Then onto the scene comes landowner Gregori who has come to see her because of a debt her late husband owes him. Elena tells him that he’ll have to wait to be paid and that riles him. As they fight and squabble and threaten to duel with each other, Gregori becomes impressed by Elena’s feisty approach!
In ‘The Proposal'(director Jerome Pride), Laura Turner plays Natalya, a lonely, assertive young woman who tarries and trades blows with her middle aged, rich landowner neighbour., Lomov. That is until her exasperated father Stepan tells her that Lomov was intending to propose to her. Then, all of a sudden, Natalya is as sweet as pie!
Wrapping up, this evening that was a lovely mix of Chekhov’s astute, wry observations of character together with scenarios filled with surprises and reversals. Each of the three vignettes were well played, and warmly directed.
My tip. Snap this ticket up! Breezy, light hearted theatre nights aren’t that easy to come by. ‘From Chekhov With Love’ plays the Newtown theatre corner King and Bray streets, Newtown until Saturday 4th September, 2010.