Choice: Theatre

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The Cherry Orchard, Gardner Arts Centre, Brighton (01273 709709) 7.45pm

In a famous spat with the director Stanislavski, Chekhov once fiercely argued that "my plays are comedies". Of course, much of the philosophical argument surrounding 20th-century art has pivoted on the argument about who to trust, the artist or the artwork. So are we supposed to take the playwright at his word? Throughout the century, this masterpiece - I do not use the word lightly - has been pushed from pillar to post with successive directors giving alternate supremacy to the abundant tragic and comic aspects of this play about a family and its (mis)fortunes on the brink of political and social upheaval. This production, by the Small Theatre of Vilnius, concentrates on this great play's vivid ensemble potential. The director even goes so far as to put some of the dialogue off-stage, instead showing the drama of what is usually unseen with the rest of the household. Yes, it's in Lithuanian but don't worry, there are surtitles. David Benedict