Chekhov’s play, The Cherry Orchard, is about changing times and how people adapt, or fail to do so. An aristocratic landowning Russian family has been struggling financially for some time. Rather than doing anything about it, Madame Ranyevskaya had left her house and gone to live in Paris for some years. She has now returned and is faced with the possible loss of her house and of her beloved cherry orchard. Despite her huge debts, she is incapable of curbing her spending and carries on as she always has, eating and drinking well, throwing balls and lending money (which will probably never be returned) to other impoverished landowners.The house and its land, including the cherry orchard, are to be put up for auction. Lopakhin, a business man, suggests an alternative, which is to cut down the cherry orchard and build holiday cottages in its place. The new railway line will guarantee a large income and permanently end the family’s financial problems. Madame Ranyevskaya, however, cannot bear the thought of losing the cherry orchard and cannot be persuaded to go along with the scheme, even though there is no obvious alternative other than losing everything. She is hopeful that something will turn up.This production is of the Michael Frayn adaptation. As Chekhov intended, it is set in Russia at the beginning of the 20th Century. The sets and costumes are extremely authentic. The acting is of a very high standard throughout, but Lorna Dixon as Madame Ranyevskaya is particularly good. She manages to convey the impression of someone who is well-meaning and generous but totally confused by the modern world and absolutely unable to make a difficult decision, even though not making a decision is clearly going to be worse in the long run.This is serious theatre and well worth making the journey to St. Ninian’s Hall, but do buy your tickets in advance – it was sold out on the night I went.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

History Boys

★★★★

Dracula

★★

Cherry Orchard

★★★★

Azincourt

★★★★

Secret Garden

★★★★

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The Blurb

Michael Frayn's sparkling version of Chekhov's timeless classic. A family struggle to cope with a changing world. Funny, lively, poignant, as Chekhov intended. No gimmicks. Share the experience with Edinburgh Evening News 2008 and 2009 Fringe award winners.

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