Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduation production directed by Sally Cookson.
Based on adaptations of The Seagull by Christopher Hampton, Anya Reiss, and Stupid Fucking Bird by Aaron Posner, The Three Seagulls is the graduating performance of Bristol Old Vic’s class of 2021. Given that two years of their course have been conducted during a pandemic, and that students and staff alike have had to navigate the world of remote learning, isolation periods, lockdowns and more, it’s a miracle they’ve managed to pull anything out of the bag, let alone a performance as well-rounded and entertaining as this one.
It’s still something of a novelty to be back in the theatre, and I found myself fully engaged throughout, thanks to a cast who are perhaps more visually entertaining to watch than to listen to. The plot is loosely based on the works named above, and it works well, but does feel a little laborious at times. There are moments of absolute perfection, though, especially Irina Arkadina’s desperate plea to her younger lover, Trigorin, which the whole cast helped deliver.
There are wonderful moments of synchronicity from the trio of actors playing the same character, and I found myself watching closely for these. My favourite pairing of these had to be Michael Drake as Trigorin opposite Dumile Sibanda as Nina; I would have enjoyed more interaction between the two as their dialogue was loaded with tension. The absolute standout of the entire show is Tessa Wong as Irina Arkadina. She is a powerful force throughout; funny, fierce, desperate and lost, all rolled into one terrific performance. Congratulations to the class of 2021, for battling through these hard and uncertain times to deliver an enjoyable evening of theatre for us to enjoy. I am sure they all have very bright futures ahead of them, and I wish them well.