Full casting for Michael Boyd’s much anticipated production of The Cherry Orchard is announced today as rehearsals begin for the Bristol Old Vic and Royal Exchange Theatre co-production. Rory Mullarkey’s brand-new translation will be directed by Boyd, celebrated former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Having studied Russian and trained as a director in Moscow, extraordinarily, he will be directing Chekhov – the literary love of his life – for the first time.
Kirsty Bushell and Jude Owusu lead the ensemble in this vivid new production, which opens at Bristol Old Vic 1 March – 7 April, before transferring to Manchester’s Royal Exchange from 19 April – 19 May.
Kirsty Bushell plays Ranyevskaya, a woman whose liberal world of privilege and pleasure is beginning to show cracks while she and her family live on in denial. Kirsty was recently seen on television in BBC’s Motherland, but it is on stage where she has earned her renowned reputation. Her career is one of dynamic variety, spanning roles from Olivia in the RSC’s Twelfth Night and Juliet for Shakespeare’s Globe to Vittoria in The White Devil (RSC), the title role in Hedda Gabler, and the recent “pitch-perfect” Regan opposite Ian McKellan’s King Lear. Her career also spans new works such as the recent Boys will Be Boys (Headlong/Bush), Torn for the Royal Court and Disgraced (The Bush). She regularly works with some of the leading directors in the world, including Ivo Van Hove, Michael Grandage and Maria Aberg, appearing regularly with the RSC, National Theatre and Royal Court.
Jude Owusu plays the successful businessman Lopakhin, who has loved Ranyevskaya since childhood and now hopes to be her salvation. Jude’s recent theatre work includes A Tale of Two Cities (Regent’s Park), Gregory Doran’s Julius Caesar, Tim Crouch’s I, Cinna (both RSC/West End) and The Comedy of Errors (National Theatre). His television work includes the acclaimed The Hollow Crown series for BBC.
They are joined by Simon Coates in the role of Ranyevskaya’s well-intentioned but delusional brother Gayev. Simon has worked extensively with the National Theatre and the RSC, appearing throughout the world in many celebrated productions including: Robert Lepage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tim Supple’s The Comedy of Errors, David Farr’s Coriolanus, Robert Icke’s 1984 and Declan Donnellan’s As You Like It, for which he received an Olivier award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a New York Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actor.
BAFTA-nominated Togo Igawa takes the role of Gayev’s elderly servant Firs. In 1986, he became the first Japanese actor to join The Royal Shakespeare Company. His work spans stage, film, anime, games and television. Stage work includes, Her Voice (Dublin Theatre Festival), Pacific Overtures (Donmar), and The Fair Maid of the West (RSC). His film work is extensive and includes Star Wars – The Last Jedi (2017), 47 Ronin (2013), The Last Samurai (2004), Topsy-Turvy (2000) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
Landowner Pischik is played by Julius D’Silva. His extensive theatre credits include Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom (West Yorkshire Playhouse & Toronto), Made In Dagenham (Adelphi Theatre), Anne Boleyn (Shakespeare’s Globe/ETT), Oliver! (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) and Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe). He has previously worked with Michael Boyd as part of the RSC’s Olivier Award-winning Histories Ensemble 2006–2008. His film credits include Notes on a Scandal and Endgame, and he can currently be seen in TV drama The Crown.
Éva Magyar takes the role of Charlotta. Born in Hungary, she originally took the UK theatre scene by storm with her performance as Yseult in the original Kneehigh/National Theatre production of Tristan and Yseult. Her recent roles include Berthe in Ivo Van Hove’s Hedda Gabler (National Theatre) and the title role of Marlene for Tristan Bates Theatre. Jack Monaghan plays the clerk Yepikhodov. He recently played Benjamin in The Graduate (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Albert in the West End run of War Horse, as well as performing at Shakespeare’s Globe in As You Like It, and at Hampstead Theatre in Deposit.
Bristol Old Vic welcomes back Emma Naomi in the role of the family’s maid, Dunyasha (previously The Crucible, Bristol Old Vic) and Enyi Okoronkwo as the eternal student Trofimov (previously Junkyard, Bristol Old Vic).
The cast also includes two recent Bristol Old Vic Theatre School graduates and 2017 Peter O’Toole Prize winners, Verity Blyth as Ranyevskaya’s daughter Anya (13, Tobacco Factory Theatres) and Rosy McEwan as Varya (Julius Caesar, Bristol Old Vic).
They are joined by Hayden Mclean as Yasha (Fair to Middling, New Wimbledon Studio; Ages, Old Vic London), Joseph Hardy (Façade/Strange Joy, East London Music Group) and Harry Humberstone (Ablutions, FellSwoop Theatre).