This time last week, I was just leaving the theatre. It was an extra special trip for a number one reasons: it was the first play I had seen for a few months, which is unusual for me as a play-lover; I went with my mother, whom I rarely go out with; I was taking several hours off from work right in the middle of the hellish stress that is revision and exams. On top of all of that, I had booked to see this play over five months ago, which is even more unusual for me as I am normally relatively last-minute in my arrangements.
The reason that my mother and I had heard about this production of The Cherry Orchard at the Old Vic, months before it started showing and a week before the press reviews came out, was LibertyLondonGirl.
I knew that I had to see this production as soon as I read this blog post in January, when The Bridge Project was still showing in New York. Adapted by one of my favourite playwrights (Tom Stoppard), acted by one of my favourite actors (Simon Russell Beale), supplemented by a starry cast and director and most importantly, favourably reviewed on the LLG blog.
Sadly, even with my extremely advanced booking, it was impossible to get great seats at a great price in a concession/full price combination. So I would say that without doubt, the worst part of the show was the god-awful seats. No padding, no cushioning and positioned in front of a metal bar, we could only rely on the world of The Cherry Orchard to suck us in and make us forget our uncomfortable surroundings. It didn't let us down.
Strangely enough, the UK reviews have since come out and the accompanying piece in the Project, The Winter's Tale, has received better reviews. I wonder if this is a reflection of a British preference of Shakespeare over Chekhov, or if I really did choose the inferior production. I wish I could have seen both! I am definitely going to go back next year for the second installment in said Bridge Project; maybe I can get my booking in even earlier this time.
Either way, I am so glad I was reading LibertyLondonGirl's blog, and knew that if it was good enough for her, it was good enough for me.