The last of Chekovs plays, The Cherry Orchard, is a story that proves ignoring issues in life that make us uncomfortable, will not lead to them being solved. In early 19th century, rural Russia, a well-off family return from Paris to find out their beautiful home is being sold off due to being unable to pay the mortgage. The family choose to ignore the issue, focusing on their lives and the sentimental Cherry Tree that is in their garden. Despite raising a small amount of money, the family are unable to save their home and have to leave it all behind to find a life elsewhere.
The Brockley Jack Theatre in South London is an intimate space. On a sweltering hot summers evening, programmes were used as welcomed fanning devices but this didn’t detract from gripping the audience into the story unfolding on stage. A beautifully simple set, of just a few basic household items meant the cast had to work especially hard to build a picture in the audiences mind of what was going on but I was totally there, back in the 19th century, hanging on to every word they said.
Julia Faulkner plays the mother Ranyevskaya perfectly, choosing to ignore her surroundings and hoping her troubles will just disappear. Emma Kemp gives us the innocence that the character of Anya needs and Victoria Sye is great as housemaid Dunyasha. Other notable performances come from John Sears (Firs) who has the audience laughing with his manservant on the brink of madness character and Fergus Leathem brightened up the scenes with his cheeky smile during the several parts he played.
If you fancy a trip to South London to see a great piece of Fringe theatre then pop along to see The Cherry Orchard. Make sure you buy a programme to keep cool though and keep yourself hydrated with wine!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
The Cherry Orchard is playing at the Brockley Jack Theatre until 2 August 2014. Click here for tickets.