Comedienne and actress Josie Lawrence returns to the Birmingham stage in this new adaptation of the Chekhov classic.
Lawrence, a favourite with local audiences, makes a dynamic, yet quietly tragic Madam Ranevskaya. Faced with losing all she owns, she ploughs on regardless, handing out donations to all and sundry and refusing to face her fate head-on.
When she finally learns she has lost all, that facade crumbles and Josie falls to the floor grovelling and moaning at her family’s feet.
Directed by Rep artistic director, this production clearly has a woman’s touch as the female characters dominate the production.
Daughters Anya (Amy McAllister) and Varya (Emma Pallant) are likeable as they attempt to navigate their way through the shipwreck which is their mother and even the flighty maid Dunyasha has her tragic side as she falls hopelessly for footman Yasha.
This adaptation by Tom Stoppard succeeds in bringing out the irony and humour of Chekhov so the play is not as bleak as it can be.
Rating: 3/5, until November 6