The Cherry Orchard: Beyond the Truth @ C Nova

Moyan Brenn, Edinburgh Festival / CC
Photograph: Moyan Brenn / CC

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Genre: Physical Theatre

Venue: C Nova

Website: Margot Theatre

Company: Margot Theatre Production

Lowdown

‘Hopelessly in debt, the Gayev family are forced to sell their beloved estate, and see the cherry orchard cut down.’

Review

Directed by Park YeonJoo The Cherry Orchard: Beyond the truth is based on the Chekhov classic though this performance focuses on three of the original list of characters. This physical theatre performance is highly inventive, conveying a lot within the intense physicality in a much more interesting way that dialogue ever could. The dialogue that is used flits between english and korean however it is not necessary to understand both languages to understand the piece. This bilingual aspect brings an added cultural flavour which is important for international companies to retain.

Ranevskaya returns home from Paris to the Cherry Orchard her daughter has been trying so hard to save, the cherry orchard which is now up for sale at auction to pay off the family debts. The mothers denial over the whole affair breaks down the family bond, leading the youngest daughter to abandon her attempts at echoing her mothers movements and mannerisms in the hope of becoming like her, while the older daughter becomes resentful at her mothers part in the downfall of the orchard and in her lack of acknowledgment of what she has been doing to try to save it.

All of this is conveyed in surprising clarity given the bizarre nature of the performance. the highly physical aspects are very well executed with excellent facial expressions being as important as the movements. Everything is bold and overstated yet works excellently to retain attention and push the performance on. The slow motion, and freeze frame actions are quite impeccable and slot nicely with the other intense segments which are almost an assault on the senses in terms of colour and sound.

Sound is used to great effect however the use of silence is perhaps more impressive, choosing to do a great portion of the performance against silence is a bold move but an effective one as the simplicity allows for more of the focus to be completely on the performers. Lighting is used well to create atmosphere, the use of two flashlights by performers as each character is forced to tell the truth by their nervous tics is particularly well constructed.

The Cherry Orchard: Beyond the Truth is engaging, and totally bizarre. Movement director Kim Sung Yeon has done an amazing job on this production as have the cast Lim Yun Jin, You HyoJin, and JeongJin Suk in performing with such energy and skill. There are many layers to the story: disillusionment, accepting reality, and economic issues, all of which are conveyed brilliantly. And there is also a shoe fight, what more can you want from theatre.

This review originally appeared on FringeReview and is reproduced in partnership with their permission.

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