• Amy Toledano

Swan Song presented by ART-VIC (Anglo-Russian Theatre).

What is it?

SWAN SONG is a conglomeration of all of Chekhov's plays performed in one evening. It is a remarkable production in that the cast is made up of 15 or so international actors! 

What is it about?

SWAN SONG pays homage to Chekhov for his 160th Birthday. The storyline is held together by our protagonist, Vasili, who is a comedy actor. The show begins after Vasili's own show has just finished and he awakes backstage alone and drunk after being locked in. As he starts to relive his theatrical past, the rest of the cast comes out presenting various scenes from Chekov’s plays: Swan Song, The Seagull, Ivanov, Uncle Vanya, The Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. 

How did it make me feel?

The idea of this production is very clever: combining  Chekov’s plays with a through line via a celebrated actors’ memory. However, if one is not well versed with Chekov’s plays, it is very difficult to follow along with what is happening as one scene transitions into the next. 

In an international cast of 15 actors there is a lot of different energy brought to the stage. There are a few notable performances, namely those of Helena Klaus, Thomas Everatt, Anna Cullen and Mack McGuire. Klaus’s portrayal of Nina, and Masha for that matter, is done with extreme precision and attention to subtleties and honesty. Klaus truly lives in the moment and breathes exciting life into familiar characters. 

Thomas Everatt plays his roles with a confidence that is to be admired. His diction and articulation is also of note. 

As Anna, Cullen plays her with raw emotion that our hearts break along with hers. 

McGuire brings a much needed hyper energy to the stage. His characterisations are clever, interesting, and captivating making him one of the most fascinating actors on stage to watch. 

Anything else?

Technical wise, the production appears to be having a tech rehearsal where lightening is concerned. More often than not, the stage is not lit and when it is, the actors struggle to find their light. This was a rather distracting element of what otherwise seems to be a fairly straightforward technical show. 

Natasha x

SWAN SONG is playing aTheatre Technis until the 31st January 2020.

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