Review: The Cherry Orchard: Beyond the Truth

Margot Theatre Productions (Korea)
C Nova, Victoria Street Edinburgh, Scotland, Until August 31st
2 Stars (2 / 5)

Margot Theatre Productions’ surreal rendering of The Cherry Orchard must certainly be tipped for true lovers of physical theatre and the extraordinary enthusiast with select tastes. They are an International award-winning winning physical theatre company with a penchant for the avant-garde and so perhaps there is something here which I simply do not have the vocabulary to fully appreciate – but I could not penetrate this rendering of Chekhov’s classic and, I fear, neither will the lay audience member.

Margot is a physical theatre company, and indeed the kinetic elements of the show are the strongest element of the production. Their movements, mime, slow-motion jerks, full stop freeze frames, and how their characterisations are portrayed through movement show fits of brilliance.

The beginning sections are the weakest, some of the melodramatic delivery is frankly quite irritating after a while, but it strengthens as it progresses. The constant repetition of the phrase, “mum, the cherry orchard will be put up for action,” bizarre and confusing at first becomes quickly inane and frustrating. The purpose of this falls into focus as the character in question continues to try and inform her mother of this critical fact, but to no avail. It’s enjoyable to watch her continue trying to get through but never getting the opportunity and they conceive of all sorts of interesting ways to express their denial through movement. There is some definite humour here which is very welcome, and perhaps the melodramatic delivery would not be so tiresome if it was not the only channel the performers inhabited.