Review: Chekhov in Hell
Anton Chekhov wakes up in London after being in a coma for 100 years. He explores London – going places, meeting people. Jason Whyte, as Chekhov, doesn’t get to say much. However, he is the centre of the play, with the other characters using him as a mirror to reflect themselves. Director Eleanor Bishop keeps the play racing along. Four actors (Victoria Abbott, Nick Dunbar, Simon Leary, Heather O’Carroll) take on multiple roles in multiple settings. They rarely change costume, and there aren’t that many props. There is some excellent character work manifested in physicality and speech patterns. These characters are over-the-top so it comes as a surprise when some of them reveal they have a (broken) heart. Particular affecting were a TV producer (Jessica, played by Abbott) and a rapper (Marcia, played by O’Carroll.) Dunbar gets to have fun with a fashion designer, and a sad woman at a speed dating event. Leary is calm and collected as a counsellor, then slightly unhinged as a chef.
The set by Alice Hill is simple, allowing the AV, by Andrew Simpson, and the lighting, by Marcus McShane to show up. Occasionally the projections were a bit distracting because they were so interesting. Listen out for scene titles in sound designer Gareth Hobbs’ soundtrack.
- Chekhov in Hell on at Circa Two to June 9 2012.