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Previewed 12 September 2008, Opened 17 September 2008, Closed 29 November 2008 at the Wyndham's Theatre in London
The Donmar Warehouse present Anton Chekhov's Ivanov in London in a new version by Tom Stoppard and starring Kenneth Branagh.
Once a man of limitless promise, Ivanov is plunged into debt. His marriage is in crisis, and his evenings are spent negotiating loans, avoiding love affiars and fighting to resist the small town jealousies and intrigues which threaten to engulf his life.
The cast for Ivanov in London features Kenneth Branagh in the title role along with Lucy Briers as 'Babakina, Malcolm Sinclair as 'Shabelsky', Gina McKee as 'Anna Petrovna', Kevin R McNally as 'Lebedev', Andrea Riseborough as 'Sasha', John Atterbury as 'Yegorushka / Pyotr', Linda Broughton as 'Avdotya', Lorcan Cranitch as 'Borkin', Tom Hiddleston as 'Lvov', Sylvestra Le Touzel as 'Zinaida' and James Tucker as 'Kosykh'. It is directed by Michael Grandage with designs by Christopher Oram. Ivanov was Chekhov's first play, written in 1887. Anton Chekhov (1860 - 1904) was a short story writer and playwright. His other plays include The Wood Demon (1889), The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1899), The Three Sisters (1900) and The Cherry Orchard (1904).
"Chekhov is rightly viewed by many as the Russian Shakespeare for his questing insights into the soul. In Ivanov, the first of the playwright's completed plays and one that exhausted him, he has created a truly sad creature... It is a demanding part and Kenneth Branagh, in a greatly welcomed return to the West End stage, plays the title role with a powerful portrayal of crippling hopelessness... Director Michael Grandage keeps the play's rhythm moving briskly and Christopher Oram's designs are stunning... This new version of the play is by Tom Stoppard and he gives it much contemporary linguistic appeal, with frequent touches of comedy. But it is Branagh's portrait of a man hanging by a cobweb-thin thread that will remain in the memory." The Daily Express
"Adapting the 1887 work, Tom Stoppard isn't sure whether it is a comedy or a tragedy, and this ambivalence gives Michael Grandage's production an air of unease that borders sometimes on menace... Grandage invests the production with the good looks that are his trademark - each scene composed with the care of an Old Master - and there is some fine ensemble playing. A small gripe: Miss McKee looks too lusty to be taken entirely seriously as Ivanov 's dying wife but it is a sensitive portrayal for all that. I enjoyed Malcolm Sinclair's deliciously hammy turn as Shabelsky - a waxed moustache, a huge quiff and the most dangerous eyes I have seen on a stage since the days of Robert Stephens - and Tom Hiddleston's rather fussy, slightly effete Lvov, who turns out to be Ivanov's unlikely Nemesis." The Sunday Telegraph
"Kenneth Branagh, in outstanding form, plays Ivanov, a sort of rustic Hamlet - a gentleman farmer who is consumed by self-loathing, self-pity and guilt because his wife (a desperately moving Gina McKee) is dying of TB and he can't bring himself to care... Tom Stoppard's new version has an easy wit. In what must be the funniest scene of drunkenness ever, several old soaks who have probably never been inside a kitchen, exchange recipes... An unmissable pleasure." The Mail on Sunday
Presented as the first production of the Donmar Warehouse Season at the Wyndham's Theatre which runs from September 2008 to August 2009 and comprises of three other plays: William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Yukio Mishima's Madame de Sade and William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Ivanov in London at the Wyndham's Theatre previewed from 12 September 2008, opened on 17 September 2008 and closed on 29 November 2008.