Chekhov x 4

REVIEW by Willard Manus

LOS ANGELES -- The Anteus Company, a classical theatre ensemble, recently unveiled its brand-new home with an enjoyable production of four short plays by Anton Chekhov. Under the umbrella title of CHEKHOV X 4, the evening offered versions of The Proposal, The Anniversary, The Bear and Swan Song, all of which had separate directors and casts.

With a large part of its 70-person company showcased, Anteus delivered the goods, Working from fresh translations by Nicholas Saunders and Frank Dwyer, directors Sabin Epstein, Michael Michetti, Stephanie Shroyer and Andy Robinson mined Chekhov's comedies for maximum laughs, going over the top only once (with The Anniversary, a farce that Michetti allowed to become a burlesque).

There were many splendid performances, production values were solid, and Eugene Alper provided appropriately lugubrious Russian song interludes. (New Place Theater Center, 4860 Vineland Ave, NOHo. Call (818) 506-5436)