Tragic combines with comic in this double-bill of Chekhov’s short play and an accompanying monologue by Alison Carr. Gordon Russell gives a staggering performance as both Chekhov’s disillusioned and world-weary Nyukhin, who abandons a lecture on tobacco to share his marital miseries, and disappointed wife Popova giving his eulogy after his death. It’s not the most cheerful of subject matters, but Russell infuses each monologue with hints of dark comedy and witty asides that lift this otherwise contemplative and serious production. Intriguing, poignant and touching, this vignette into the woes of an outwardly-happy couple is searingly tragic, and the flaws of both parties are explored (by the other) until the audience isn’t really sure who to blame.
C aquila, 3-27 Aug, 7.10pm.
tw rating 4/5 | [Alexandra Payne]