Reviews – Seagull

23 April 2024

Joel Horwood as Konstantin Treplyov and Karen Vickery as Irina Arkadina (Photo credit: Jane Duong)

by Len Power, Canberra Critics Circle, 11 April 2024

“The modern dialogue gives a sense of recognition to the characters without losing any of the subtleties or humour in the text. It is clearly the work of someone who knows the play intimately and Vickery has successfully made it a play that modern Australia, especially, can relate to and embrace.”

by Bill Stephens, Australian Arts Review, 11 April 2024

Vickery’s translation moves the action into the present day. The first two acts, originally set in the gardens of an estate in Melikhovo in central Russia, are performed outdoors, under the tall trees surrounding the Causeway Hall. Gas heaters and thoughtfully provided blankets, keep the audience cosy despite the crispness of a perfect Canberra Autumn night.

Normally these relationships can be difficult to keep up with. However the clarity of Vickery’s modern language translation, the stripped-back, atmospheric production which places the emphasis squarely on Chekhov’s writing, and the tightly focussed direction by Caitlin Baker, result in a compelling, often riveting narrative.

For anyone who’s previously considered Chekhov’s plays dense or dreary, this clever, thoughtful and decidedly entertaining production of Chekhov’s enduring romcom, is guaranteed to convert you. For those already aware of the power of Chekhov’s writing, this is a production which could prove a revelation.

by Peter Wilkins, Canberra Critics Circle, 11 April 2024

Karen Vickery’s translation of Anton Chekov’s The Seagull is a breath of fresh air. It is lucid with a fluidity and immediacy that makes it thoroughly accessible to a contemporary audience. The dialogue springs forth trippingly on the tongue with a clarity and intelligence that lends each character an individual truth.

Vickery’s translation gives licence to the actors of Chaika Theatre to own and fully inhabit Chekov’s characters as though fresh minted for our time, while still paying homage to Stanislavski’s quest for presenting real people in real circumstances on a modern stage.

Vickery’s translation is humanity in all its natural aspects. Chaika Theatre has presented a Seagull that reverberates with Chekov’s dream for a new theatre while empathizing with those trapped within an old order. He died in 1901 before that new order came to his country and before Chaika Theatre could pay homage in this wonderful production to the gift to theatre of Anton Chekov and Konstantin Stanislavski’s Moscow Art Theatre.