A talented Tolstoy production
THE National Theatre production The , Fruits of Enlightenment by Tolstoy at the Olivier Theatre last week was the first play Constantin Stanislavsky directed at the world famous Moscow Arts Theatre.
Stanislavsky, at the time of his first production, had observed that "good scenery is the salvation of amateurs". Christopher Morahan, who directs the Naticinal Theatre performance, has obviously decided that the converse is not applicable.
He has assembled at the Oliver Theatre a most talented and professional cast, to name but a few: Ralph Richardson, Joyce Redman. Andrew Cruickshank, Peter Copley, Peggy Marshall, Peter Needham. and yet despite that the director has indulged in a very lavish and spectacular setting by John Bury.
Many theatregoers tend to regard any form of Russian theatre as tedious, languid and full of "atmosphere", even though recent productions of Chekov have highlighted the comedy aspects.
Yet I suspect that the average theatregoer will hardly associate Tolstoy with comedy, certainly not with the sort of farcical comedy to be seen in the seance scene in this production.
A visit to the Olivier Theatre can be highly recommended for both entertainment and education.