Wednesday, 7 March 2012


I'm a big Chekhov fan, so luckily Peter Gill's A Provincial Life did not disappoint. The Stage don't give star ratings, but if they did, I'd have given it 4 stars. Here is the review, I'd have liked a bigger word count for the write up, so much there just wasn't room to go into:

Published Wednesday 7 March 2012 at 11:12 by Susie Wild
Renowned Welsh playwright Peter Gill directs his first play in his home city of Cardiff in his iconic 50-year career, returning home with a compelling adaptation of his 1966 work A Provincial Life at the newly refurbished Sherman Cymru. Staged only once before, at the Royal Court, National Theatre Wales has done us great service in bringing it back to our attention.
Based on a story by Anton Chekhov, this tragicomic tale charts the arc of idealist Misail Alexandrovich Poloznez (Nicholas Shaw) in 1890s Russia. Misail renounces the bourgeois life he was born in to, to become a workman, before moving to the country to manage the estate of his new wife, singer Maria Victorovna Dolzhikova (Alex Clatworthy). His painful search for meaning and equality resonates in today’s uncertain financial climate.
Shaw adeptly portrays Misail’s trajectory from sweetly naive idealism through to a solemn awareness of futility and injustice once his love leaves him. His struggle is emphasised by Alison Chitty’s starkly authentic sets where the characters are dwarfed against the pale wooden backdrops. He has strong support across the cast, especially from the warm performances of Lee Haven-Jones (Boris Ivanov Blagovo), William Thomas (Andrey Ivanov) and Alex Clatworthy. The large number of scene changes are made smoothly, thanks to the well choreographed movement of the ensemble cast.
Misail says that “Nothing can pass without leaving a trace and that everything we do, however small, has significance in our present and in our future.” A Provincial Life is sure to leave a lasting impression upon all who view it.

Read review on The Stage website:

I enjoyed my third night out at the theatre tonight. John Peel's Shed at Weston Studio on Mon, A Provincial Life at Sherman Cymru last night and ScriptSlam at Sherman tonight. Congratulations to darkly comic runner up Kelly Jones (my favourite) and winner Rhys Matthews who had some top visual gags.

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