The Cherry Orchard

by Anton Chekhov

directed by Lynda Edwards

Performed at

The Nuffield Theatre


26th to 30th March 1985


Chekhov’s final and most mature play is well structured and the balance beween comedy and pathos is finely held. We see clearly Chekhov’s gentleness and compassion as well as his objectivity. In the play we are shown the confusion of those members of the landed aristocracy who, at that time in Russia, were losing their money, their land, their status and their sense of order. Against these people we are shown the new, rising breed of progressive “builders of the future” - the question is posed whether a future built on the total destruction of the old order can be a “glorious” one.

This is a play about the new order versus the old order, about a cherry orchard which may or may not symbolise lost hopes, but most importantly it is about people, their quiet despair, their frustrations, their hopes, their weaknesses and their strengths. The wide range of characters which Chekhov uses to people his stage, from the quietly tragic to the loudly farcical create the illusion of life for us. “Life as it is - not on stilts”.


Anton Chekhov, Russia’s greatest dramatist, undoubtedly influenced the development of modern European drama. His new "drama of mood" touched playwrights from Gorky to Pinter. Born in 1860 in Taganrog, the third of six children, Chekhov developed an early flair for the dramatic as a skilled comic actor with an instinct for entertaining. After graduating as a doctor in 1884, Chekhov concentrated on short story writing during the 1880’s and became very successful in this field. He produced stories imbued with his own characteristic blend of poignancy, astringency, detachment and carefully controlled humour. He had previously written one full length play (Platonov 1881) and between 1888 and 1891 he wrote his famous one act farces including The Bear. However it was not until The Seasgull, was performed by The Moscow Arts Theatre in 1898 that Chekhov really received acclaim as a dramatist. This partnership with The Moscow Arts Theatre and, in particular with its director Stanislavsky, led to successful productions of Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and finally The Cherry Orchard. Chekhov was a very sick man for most of his adult life and died shortly after finishing tonight’s play in 1904.

Lyuba Ranevskaya (an estate owner) Mollie Manns
Anya (her daughter) Belinda White
Varya (her adopted daughter) Sheana Carrington
Leonid Gaev (Ranevskaya’s brother) James Smith
Yermolay Lopakhin (a business man) Bill McCann
Peter Trofimov (a student) Peter White
Boris Simeonov-Pishchik (an estate owner) David Jupp
Charlotte (a governess) Jenni Watson
Simon Yepihodoy (a clerk) Philip de Grouchy
Dunyasha (a maid) Carol Clark
Firs (a manservant) Douglas Coates
Yasha (a manservant) Ken Hann
A passer-by Derek Sealy
A Station Master Chris Williams
A Post Office clerk Rory Kinahan
Guests Caroline Drinkwater, Jean Durman
For the Maskers:
Director Lynda Edwards
Designer Ken Spencer with Imogen Hobbs, Julia Patterson
Stage Manager Tony Lawther
Production Assistant John Carrington
Properties Enid Clark, Caroline Drinkwater
Assistant Stage Managers Keith Larkin, Jan Ward, Tim Hobbs, Adam Hobbs, Tim Archer
Furniture Jenni Watson
Lighting Clive Weeks, Sue Cunningham
Sound Angela Barks
Choreography Pamela Sylvester
Guitar John Murfit
Flute Orin Stone
Wardrobe Chris Baker, Janet Cairney
Publicity Meri Lawther
Set Construction Manager John Riggs

Music used during the performance includes Russian folk songs sung by Ivan Rebroff and traditional Russian folk melodies recorded specifically for the performance

Click here to read the review!


click on a photo to enlarge it

James Smith
Belinda White & Peter White
Bill McCann, Mollie Manns & James Smith
James Smith
Philip de Grouchy & Jenni Watson
Carol Clark & Philip de Grouchy
Belinda White, James Smith, Mollie Manns & Sheana Carrington
Back: Carol Clark, Sheana Carrington, Belinda White;
Front: Mollie Manns, Caroline Drinkwater, Jenni Watson & Peter White
Mollie Manns & James Smith
The Review

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