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Previewed 21 November 2007, opened 27 November 2007, closed 12 January 2008 at the New London Theatre in London
The Royal Shakespeare Company present a strictly limited season of two plays, King Lear and The Seagull in London playing together in repertory.
Anton Chekhov's masterpiece play The Seagull entwines comic and tragic situations in the lives of a famous actress, her son and their lovers. As the young strive for fulfilment, their older counterparts look back to youthful dreams that remain unfulfilled.
The RSC's production of The Seagull in London is directed by Trevor Nunn and the cast features Frances Barber as 'Arkadina' along with Ian McKellen and William Gaunt who share the role of 'Sorin'. This production of Anton Chekhov's Seagull was originally staged at in Stratford-upon-Avon earlier this year (April to June 2007).
"When I caught The Seagull in London, William Gaunt had replaced Ian McKellen in the role of Sorin, the landowner in whose lake-house the play is set, and was not bringing the same wryness to the old man's feeling that he has squandered his life. As a result, the play isn't so fully the 'comedy' that Chekhov claimed it was. But Frances Barber is still Sorin's sister, the actress Arkadina, and giving a deeper performance than at Stratford... There are strong supporting performances in Kyd's Trigorin, an introvert suddenly aware of how desperately driven he's become, and from Monica Dolan as Masha, who wears black 'because I'm in mourning for my life'. Like Barber's Arkadina, she's a poseur and not a poseur: a pale, ungainly girl besotted with Konstantin yet oddly proud of her status as a lovelorn alcoholic. You laugh, but you also feel the unhappiness." The Times
"The focus in Chekhov's bleak tale ought to be on the domineering mother Arkadina and her neurotic and misunderstood son Konstantin, but neither Frances Barber nor Richard Goulding, who take the roles in this production, are any match for a scene stealer of Ian McKellen's calibre who crops up as Sorin. His preposterously ostentatious turn - fussy, effete, seemingly always fiddling with something - throws the whole production off balance." The Sunday Telegraph
"Trevor Nunn has paired King Lear with Chekhov's The Seagull, possibly for their shared preoccupation with the idea that it's not fame or glory or status that matters, it's learning to endure. Chekhov's play also tells you all you have to know about the self-obsession, vanity, insecurity and jealousy of theatre people, particularly writers and actors. Again, McKellen is the best thing about it, and again, his hair, bubbly curls as wayward as a sheep's, has a character of its own. His Sorin, whose campness possibly explains his eternal bachelor state,is a delight. Once again, too, Nunn's direction seems to demonstrate his apparent motto of 'never knowingly understated' (to bend the John Lewis dictum)." The Mail on Sunday
The Seagull in London at the New London Theatre previewed from 21 November 2007, opened on 27 November 2007 and closed on 12 January 2008