I went to see The Brothers, by South African playwright Reza de Wet, at the White Bear Theatre, drawn in by the discovery that it was about my favourite playwright, Anton Chekhov. In the play, Anton and his brother Aleksandr keep a night-long vigil before the funeral of their other brother Kostia, resulting in an explosive confrontation with each other and with Aleksandr’s wife, Natalya.
The play is to an extent Chekhovian in tone, examining sibling and romantic rivalry, human misery and suffering, and the power of creativity. The small cast of three gave superb and accomplished performances. Ralph Aiken as Alexsandr managed to portray a rude, jealous alcoholic while maintaining depth of character and inviting audience sympathy, while Beth Dalloway evoked the pain suffered by her character because of her unrequited love for Anton. Anton himself was played by Edmund Sage-Green, a strong three-dimensional portrayal which showed the writer’s passion for his work.
A deeply atmospheric drama, this powerful play was highly rewarding, and gave me another perspective on Chekhov.