The Seagull

A splendid new adaptation of Chekhov's play featuring an all-star Canadian cast

Presented by Crow's Theatre in association with The Company Theatre and Canadian Stage
Written by Anton Chekhov
Adapted by Robert Falls based on a translation by George Calderon
Directed by Chris Abraham

L to R: Tom McCamus, Yanna McIntosh, Tara Nicodema, Tony Nappo, Bahia Watson, Eric Peterson, and Gregory Prest in The Seagull.

This season, Crow's Theatre tackles Robert Falls' contemporary adaptation of Anton Chekhov's tragicomic 1895 play The Seagull in partnership with Canadian Stage and The Company Theatre. Originally produced by Goodman Theatre in Chicago, the new production features a dream cast of Canadian performers under the direction of Crow's artistic director Chris Abraham.

The Seagull follows a group of family and friends, each suffering with a different form of malaise, on holiday in the Russian countryside. In the opening act, they gather by the lake to watch a play written by Konstantin (Philip Riccio), newphew of the estate owner Sorin (Eric Peterson), and son of Arkadina (Yanna McIntosh), a well-known actress who mocks her son's attempt at staging a new form of theatre. Konstantin bemoans his mother's lack of support and at the same time is hopelessly infatuated with Nina (Christine Horne), the daughter of a rich landowner who dreams of performing on stage. Nina does not return Konstantin's affections and instead is fascinated by Arkadina's lover Trigorin (Tom Rooney), a famous writer who ensnares her with his careless charm much to the displeasure of the jealous Arkadina. But everyone is fair game when it comes to Trigorin's writing: "I don't have a life. I have raw material," he says.

Meanwhile, the jovial farmer Shamrayev (Tony Nappo) is unaware that his wife Polina (Tara Nicodemo) is having an affair with the womanizing local doctor Dorn (Tom McCamus), and Polina's snuff snorting daugher, Masha (Bahia Watson), wallows in her one-sided love for Konstantin while scornfully rejecting the affections of devoted local teacher Medvedenko (Gregory Prest). Such is the world of Chekhov's intense romance.

Chris Abraham's production makes great use of the Berkeley Theatre space, lit beautifully by Kimberley Purtell and enhanced by Thomas Ryder Payne's atmospheric sound. Designer Julie Fox adds all the right touches to the simple set, leaving plenty of room for the performers to stomp the boards and chomp into these meaty roles. Individual performances are electric: Horne's victim-turned-survivor Nina simmers with raw emotion, McIntosh is powerful as the manipulative Arkadina, Watson's hilariously stroppy Masha steals many scenes, and Prest's quietly suffering Medvedenko will break your heart. As a whole, however, the ensemble doesn't quite come together as you'd expect. Inconsistencies in tone and timing sometimes make if feel as though we are watching more than one production of the same play.

That being said, Crow's take on Chekhov's classic is a definite must-see. Funny, profound and seriously tragic, The Seagull runs until February 8 at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Sun, 2015-01-11 - Sun, 2015-02-08
Our rating:


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