“Torben Betts’s new version is killingly funny. Yet it doesn’t stint on the suffering. So its broad tone, stylistic innovations and salty language might startle traditionalists more accustomed to silver birches, samovars and understated introspection. Yet its essential emotional truthfulness rings out as loudly as its rueful laughter...has a balletic, almost cinematic, grace.” –Sam Marlowe, Times
“A fresh, free-flying new adaptation...This electric, blackly funny adaptation of The Seagull brings out both the venom and the anguish of hopeless longing in Chekhov’s 1895 original. Torben Betts’ often terse, expletive-filled update will probably have Chekhov purists pining for their samovars, yet while certain subtleties are cast aside, this is an intelligently provocative production...Though the costume is nineteenth century, both the edgy delivery of dialogue and the movement instantly feels very twenty-first century... though the laughs come easily, they are not cheap – the dialogue deliberately echoes the more hollow aspects of celebrity-obsessed self-scrutinizing existence today, and in so doing binds us more closely to the plight of Chekhov’s characters.” –Time Out
‘Only love brings happiness into this earth, the poetical love of youth, sweeping away the sorrows of the world.’
As guests assemble at a country house for the staging of an avant-garde open air play, artistic temperaments ignite a more entertaining drama behind the scenes, with romantic jealousies, self-doubt and the ruthless pursuit of happiness confusing lives, loves and literature.
Torben Betts read English Literature & English Language at the University of Liverpool before training and working as an actor. Works include: The Unconquered, Best New Play 2007 Critics Awards for Theatre in Scotland (Tron/Traverse/Arcola/Brits-off-Broadway); A Listening Heaven, nominated for Best New Play at the 2001 TMA Awards (Edinburgh Royal Lyceum); Lie of the Land, nominated for Edinburgh Fringe First Award, 2008 (Edinburgh Pleasance/Arcola); Clockwatching (Orange Tree Theatre); The Company Man (Orange Tree Theatre); The Biggleswades (Southwark Playhouse); Five Visions of the Faithful (Edinburgh Festival); The Lunatic Queen (Riverside Studios); The Error of Their Ways (HERE Arts Center, New York); The Swing of Things (Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough).