REVIEW: The Cherry Orchard at The Thomas Lord, West Meon

The Cherry Orchard by West Meon Theatre
The Cherry Orchard by West Meon Theatre
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I packed a brolly, thick coat and an extra layer… this was, after all, a pop-up theatre in a marquee in a pub garden in June.

All were needed, but luckily the play was as captivating as expected and the sound of the rain beating down overhead gave a rather British feel to the Russian play.

The West Meon Theatre put on their opening performance of Anton Chekhovs’ The Cherry Orchard in the grounds of the beautiful West Meon village pub The Thomas Lord.  

Inside a decorative – and thankfully watertight – marquee, we were whisked back to 1904 and met Madame Ranevskaya, played by Rachel Wells, an aristocratic Russian woman who returns to her family estate to find things are not as they once were.

Through the characters, we meet an array of people who symbolise the changing role of the aristocracy at that time – from an eternal student, representing reformist political opinion, to the former serf who ends up buying the estate, representing the rise of the lower classes.

With a scaled back stage, the actors made the most of the informal space and their closeness to the audience made their performances spellbinding.

Before hand, we enjoyed a delicious theatre menu from the pub. The whole evening was a wonderful experience of picture-postcard Hampshire at its best.

Well worth a visit, performances take place until July 6. Tickets £15.

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