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Kristin Scott Thomas soars in Broadway's 'The Seagull'

October 3, 2008 | 11:42 am

Seagull_2 Kristin Scott Thomas is earning rave reviews for her Broadway debut as the vain Russian actress Arkadina in the revival of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull." Critics are also praising the Ian Rickson-directed production, which uses a new translation by Christopher Hampton, for its clarity and lack of pretense.

The New York Times' Ben Brantley praised Scott Thomas' performance as being "funnier, sadder and braver than it was in London." He also confessed that the revival is "the finest and most fully involving production of Chekhov that I have ever known."

Variety's David Rooney observed that the production has brought "startling vitality, immediacy and infinite nuance into Chekhov's 1895 play." Of Scott Thomas, he wrote: "It's the anchoring naturalism brought even to this diva in chronic performance mode that makes Scott Thomas so transfixing." Still, the critic found fault with Peter Sarsgaard in the role of Trigorin, describing his performance as muffled and passionless.

Clive Barnes of the New York Post wrote that Scott Thomas "gives a great performance. With her leonine patrician profile, puffs of dismay, snorts of delight and petty diva excesses, she gives a perfect portrait of an actress close to the top of that first downward swoop."

The New York Daily News described Scott Thomas as "heaven in her Broadway debut" and praised the production for making "a 113-year-old story feel as fresh as a cool breeze."

But Bloomberg's chief curmudgeon John Simon complained about the number of "Seagull" revivals in recent months, saying that it "may be a bit of a surfeit." He wrote that Scott Thomas gave a "more- than-credible Broadway debut" and that the American cast members blend in seamlessly with the British actors.

-- David Ng

Photo: Peter Kramer / Associated Press

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