ms. t if fleet-m .g.t"§"i-tzii¥;25i » fir"- 5' " it it t CLASSIC THE CHERRY ORCHARD

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 19—Sat 22 Jun, then touring

To give you an idea of how many Chekhovs there have been this season, we’ve seen one for each Stephen Byers scandal. The resignation Chekhov is another production of The Cherry Orchard, after the Citz version a few months ago.

For me, his last is the most social of Chekhov’s four major plays. Produced in the crisis that lead to Russia’s first, unsuccessful revolution of 1905, the play portrays a crumbling, arguably metaphorical, estate where the servants are no longer obedient, a descendant of serfs is the most politically and economically powerful character and the upper class owners are reduced to a helpless fantasy life. Chekhov makes his servants distinctive from their masters. Here, they have

aspirations of their own, and are even uniquely humanised, in comparison to his other work,

by having sexualities.

Gerry Mulgrew’s reputation as artistic director of Communicado as well as his recent, auspicious production of Brave makes his combination here with the unique visual style of Benchtours an enticing prospect. His interest is in the confusion that arises out of times like Chekhov’s and, perhaps, our own. “Everyone seems to think they have a solution to the problems they face, but everyone is proved wrong as the play goes on,’ he says. ‘All the characters are subject to fantasies to help them through life, just as we are. I don’t think the play takes sides; he doesn’t say one idea is better than another, he just talks about a situation where there’s been a great deal of change.’

For Mulgrew, the musicality of Chekhov is the important element to capture, and in this production,


Gerry’s cherry

which boasts Alan Tall’s live musical score, Mulgrew is

at pains to dispel the notion that Chekhov’s work is


about boredom or torpor, at least as we usually construct it in Britain.

‘There’s a lot of stuff about ducks and trilbies and cricket whites and soporific English summers in our productions of Chekhov,’ he says. ‘But actually there’s always something happening and things happen fast. On the surface, it’s like [he imitates a slow orchestral movement], but underneath it’s [he imitates some thumping, crazy club music] - you’ve got to get that. It’s like the comedy and tragedy. One minute it’s ‘whoops there goes my trousers' then it’s ‘whoops: King Lear’. He changes moods all the time, it’s very extreme, but you have to get both of those to get it right.’

Somehow, you have faith that Mulgrew will. (Steve


Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Fri 14-Sat 15 Jun

Nederlands Dans Theater can boast one of the healthiest. most contemporary family trees on the European dance landscape. There are three branches. The main company. NDTl, is propelled by sleek, high- powered dancers regularly cited as best in the world by critics and public alike. NDT3 is a clutch of mature dancers who've not yet reached their sell-by date as performers. The youngest troupe. NDT2. is composed of dancers aged between 17 and 23 years. This zesty. expertly trained bunch is eager to lap up applause. What's more. they deserve it. Many of these dancers will eventually be taken up by the main company. extra insurance for NDT's future.

NDT2 bOunces back to Scotland for two nights only as part of a quick UK tour. Its repertory consists of a trio of dances. two of which were generated in-house. Indigo Rose is by NDTl 's former, long-time artistic director Jiri Kylian, renowned for his seamless blend of modern dance and ballet (minus the latter's point shoes). This is said to be one of his lyrical yet larky pieces. set to music ranging from the

58 THE LIST 6—20 Jun 2002

18th to the 20th centuries (Francois Couperin to John Cage). It begins with a stint of sportive energy for the men. before segueing into darker. more intimate heterosexual couplings. British-born Paul Lightfoot is both an NDTi dancer and one of Kylian's choreographic proteges. His Sad Case has been described as both off-the- wali and gripping. with clay-daubed dancers erupting into galvanic tremblings. Silly? Maybe. but with something substantial beneath it.

No question of points failiure

The evening's guaranteed hit is Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin's Minus 76. The score is a marvel of kitsch eclecticism. The movement material has an autobiographical base. In one section the dancers sit in an arc of chairs and systematically strip down to their underwear. The finale features what may be the most delirious audience participation you'll ever experience. proving that as crowd- pleasers NDT2 can't be beaten. (Donald Hutera)

Sta e Whispers

The ta/ of the green room AFTER A TEMPESTUOUS. AND ultimately quite disastrous relationship with the now departing Robert Nonh. Scottish Ballet has announced the appointment of its next artistic director. As theatre companies close one after another. it sometimes seems absurd that Scottish Ballet's artistic and commercial catastrophes have been tolerated with such apparent equanimity by the Scottish Arts C0uncil. The similarly elitist Scottish Opera has treated the SAC like a bottomless autoteller. while it might be said that we fund an orchestra whose Bach is worse than its plight.

At least Scottish Ballet. with its new appointment. Ashley Page. is attempting progress. Page has roots in classical ballet. but is equally influenced by modern dance. He trained at the Royal Ballet. where he became a principal in 1984. His early piece as a choreographer. A Broken Set Of Rules explored classical ballet from fresh perspectives. while his work with other dance forms. particularly with Rambert in the latter 808 brings some confidence that Scottish Ballet may make more attempts to experiment with the blending of modern and classical forms.

We might also expect some challenging sets. since Page has worked with a number of contemporary visual artists in his designs. With some best choreographer awards (Time Out in 1994 and the OliVier in 1995i to his credit. he has the credentials to move the company on. His Current work Lo/lapa/ooza is playing at the Western Australian Ballet in Perth. Down under. the ballet dancers have taken to getting their kit off for girly magazines in Order to promote their companies. This could be the next step for Scottish Ballet if its latest experiment doesn't work. but we wish them. and Mr Page. the best of luck. PreSumably it won't cost Our funding bodies tne earth if he does well. so theatre peOple will no d0ubt have their fingers crossed.

Robert North, the outgoing artistic director