The Cherry Orchard

There is good news and bad news in the Roundabout’s production of The Cherry Orchard.  The good news is the performers on stage.  They are luminous and talented and committed to their work and they are a joy to watch.  Diane Lane and John Glover are special standouts (Joel Grey was not in the night I saw it) but the entire cast is outstanding.  The rest is bad news.

I was immensely impressed with Stephen Karam’s play The Humans now onstage on Broadway and was looking forward to his translation of an Anton Chekhov classic.  Unfortunately I did not find it to have the sparkle of other translations I have seen and some curious choices were made.  He used “serf” only once or so and then changed to “slavery” and I do not see why when he retained the Russian location and character names.  A miss in my opinion.

Other directorial and design choices also seemed random from the multi-racial casting to the occasional inclusion of modern dress to odd perspective set design choices.  It felt as if many different styles were tossed in for effect and not for a unified vision.  I am all for modernizing or placing classics in unique settings but this production did not seem to do so for any rhyme nor reason but just to mix things up.  I would have preferred a strong directorial choice.

All that said I have no regrets spending a few hours in the company of Mr. Chekhov and these amazing performers.

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*as usual you can find more at my website http://www.walterthinnes.com or on Twitter @walterthinnes*

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