Having studied Chekhov’s ‘The Seagull’ in our lectures, on my way to Volcano Theatre I was prepared for long dresses, Russian accents and straight faces. I was not, however, prepared for climbing equipment, stilettos, and a sore belly from laughing.
Walking through the door, a very beach-y vibe was set up in the old Iceland building with drift wood, seagulls crying, and beach huts set up with fairy lights. I took a seat next to a plastic seagull and enjoyed this little bit of summer on the streets of Swansea.
Show time; we’re lead through to the very industrial and bare looking performance area where the actors are stung up and swinging in a very creepy, almost horror-film-esque fashion. Ok, so maybe this is a little different to what I was expecting from a Chekhov play.
All actors were captivating, especially blond-bombshell Mairi Phillips who played Irina Arkadina, the famous actress and mother to young writer Konstantin Treplev. When Mairi was on stage, my eyes were looking nowhere else but at her. Her confidence oozed out as she successfully managed to portray the loss of a mother and the ridiculousness of fame.
One of the highlights would have to be the stage. My jaw dropped as the sheets were pulled down to reveal a flooded ‘lake’ with chairs and logs, and how the lights reflected off of the water and created an other-worldly feel to that half of the space. The actors didn’t seem fazed by this of course, as they used the whole performance area with acrobatic circus-style brilliance.
This was a quick running, aesthetically beautiful and crowd pleasing production. Volcano have made me love a play I hated.
Seagulls marked the second show created by Volcano Theatre especially for the company’s new home – the atmospheric Bunker Theatre, deep inside the former Iceland freezer-store in Swansea High Street.