Sunday 21 September 2008
I went to see Ivanov, the first part of the new Donmar West End season at the Wyndham's theatre, on Saturday.
The play has been receiving rave reviews and I have had the tickets for about 4 months so I was very excited. Kenneth Branagh plays the title character and Gina McKee plays his wife, a Jewish woman who has renounced her faith to marry Ivanov. The play was apparently commissioned as a comedy and in this Tom Stoppard adaptation there is certainly a lot of humour, but this being Chekhov it also has very dramatic and poignant story lines. I don't want to spoil the play but you can read more about it here.
I really enjoyed the play and thought the whole cast were superb, especially McKee and Branagh, I particularly enjoyed all the scenes they shared and thought they both played the difficult scenes between a husband and wife facing illness and loss of love very well and with great empathy. The flitting between comedy and tragedy in the play can be difficult but the actors manage to really pack an emotional punch even when their dramatic scenes are short. I preferred the dramatic elements of the play but without the humour it would be a difficult watch so it is needed- and it's well done.
You can buy tickets for all four of the Donmar West End season here.
pictures courtesy of: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7622591.stm