REVIEW: The Seagull | Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney
Konstantin, as one of the disenfranchised youths of the play, has plenty of reason to feel bitter, twisted and despondent. His mother is either oblivious to others’ needs, or just doesn’t care. Konstantin’s clumsy suicide attempts are seen by her as a pain: not his, but hers. Konstantin and his torment is a tedious inconvenience that draws attention away from her. His other vehicle for self-expression and catharsis, besides self-harm, is drama. He’s written a play but, again, his mother, the actress, rejects it as trivial. It’s the last straw for Konstantin.
There’s plenty of resonance with Shakespeare, and Hamlet in particular, in Chekov’s acute document about selfishness, insularity and middle-class malaise. Despite the gulf between them, Kon has as much hold on his mother as she on him. There’s a discomfiting, obsessive familiarity and intimacy that teeters on the oedipal.
All of this, and much more, emerges, clearly and cogently, from Andrews’ perceptive production of Chekov’s incisive subtextual drama. The Seagull didn’t really fly at its late 19th-century debut, but the fact it still has momentum now confirms it as a masterpiece. At least with this coterie of talent on-board.
The details: The Seagull is at Belvoir Street’s Upstairs Theatre until July 17. Limited tickets are available each day from the venue.
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