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Winchester Festival,

13th July 2003

Hampshire Chronicle, 18th July 2003

It’s a shame that Chekhov seems to have such a dour image. Mention him to many people – even theatre lovers – and they groan and start rambling on about dead ducks being carried around the stage.

It is true that even classic plays like ‘The Seagull’ and ‘ The Cherry Orchard’ received mixed reviews in their early days, but Chekhov was breaking new ground in the theatre world. As one critic put it, previously all plays were written with paintbrushes - Chekhov was the first to use a pen. Actor Michael Pennington has a love – some might say obsession with Chekhov and this has resulted in his one-man show in which he appears on show as the great man himself. It gave the audience at the Theatre Royal the chance to understand better the author, playwright and doctor and Michael succeeded, I am sure, in convincing many that Chekhov was not only accessible, but also good fun. Certainly, I’m now prepared to give ‘The Seagull’ another go – dead ducks and all!

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