A Month in the Country at the Chichester Festival Theatre 

Review by Wendy Marshall

A Month in the Country was the closing production of Festival 2010 at Chichester this autumn. 

The stunning set, depicting the estate of wealthy landowner, Arkady Islayev entrapped the audience immediately on arrival in the auditorium. 

The very convincing orchard of trees and real plants and the technique of having the actors already on stage living out their idle, intricate entanglements of love, all made for a total immersion into the unconventional life of this Russian family and entourage. 

The action of this black comedy unfolds over four days causing mayhem and heartbreak for its characters. Well ahead of his time for broaching the subject of illicit relationships and scandal, Turgenev’s play comes across in Brian Friel’s adaptation as very pertinent today, a hundred and fifty years on. Beautiful costumes, the clever lighting, creating ease of scene changes, together with some wonderful acting, made this a resounding success to end the festival season. 

Phoebe Fox, recently graduated from RADA, gave an incredibly strong performance as the young ward, Vera, and must certainly be a name to watch for in the future.

For CFT’s current programme, visit www.cft.org.uk.

Image by Catherine Ashmore.