theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Published 19 Aug 2017

Cynics may well hear about this adaptation of The Seagull and question the point of yet another Chekhov revival. There's no denying theatres are saturated with stagings of classic work at the expense of new offerings, but this need not be a bad thing. In a postmodern age of unlimited content, it makes sense to sift through the rubble of culture in search of meaning as Volcano Theatre do here.

A partially flooded derelict church, the venue used to house Seagulls is a thing of beauty, its crumbling interior brought to life by the avant garde Welsh collective. At times it seems an almost pitiable environment, at others utterly majestic. Our perception of the space is tied to the players' treatment of their source material, which is both parodied and handled with poker-faced respect.

While the venue is the star of this site-specific piece, the cast could certainly carry it in a more conventional space. Each exudes a wealth of personality and adds nuance to the archetype they've taken on. The passing of time is rendered skilfully, while volatile emotions are manifested in tightly choreographed slapstick. This is ultimately a sincere piece of work, though it takes time for this quality to reveal itself.

The remaining dates of the play have all sold out. With only a lucky few set to see it, let it be known to the cynics that Seagulls was a resounding artistic success.