I have updated my Storify with tweets from the past two weeks about these plays.
The Real Chrisparkle
"Samuel West leads the cast of Ivanov, wonderfully convincing as the self-obsessed, mentally unstable, cruel title character, almost visibly being eaten up by the black dog as he either retreats into inner nothingness or lashes out at those who care about him. I also enjoyed his rather self-effacing Trigorin in The Seagull."
[review of The Seagull] "West makes Trigorin very compelling and attractive, but romantic and simplistic on the one hand and devious and self-serving on the other... West certainly makes a compelling case, producing one of the most rounded and nuanced takes on the role in recent years... a mature and involving performance of great finesse."
[review of Ivanov] "Samuel West is in vital, exhilarating form as the titular trapped thinker. There is no endless shower of hand wringing or endless introspective castigation in West’s performance; rather, he strives to present a portrait of a man refusing to wallow in self-pity, a man trying to find a way forward.
He might be the hero of the piece, but West does not shirk from the darker aspects of Ivanov’s character. Fear, panic, regret and rage are all part of West’s performance and he balances them expertly. His final chilling encounter with his dying wife, Anna, sets up the final tragic moments of the play quite potently. It’s a terrific, endlessly fascinating performance."
British theatre guide
"In the titular role of Ivanov, Sam West is a miserably depressed, melancholy Russian with enormous debts, out of love with his dying wife (touchingly portrayed by Nina Sosanya) and with the infatuation of a young girl, Sasha, adding complications. Not the easiest of roles to play but superbly performed."
"West's Ivanov [is] a riveting portrait of utter emptiness and desolation."
"In Samuel West’s fine performance, Ivanov is a definably tragic hero: a doomed figure intelligent enough to be aware of the danger of surrendering to a Hamletesque melancholy but incapable of preventing it."
"Ivanov is sunk in self-loathing, and loathing himself for his self-loathing. Samuel West captures with characteristic restraint the unreachableness of the terminally unhappy."
"This inward-looking journey into one man's depression – and its impact on those around him [Ivanov] — is charted with a deeply internalised sense of haunting and haunted despair by Samuel West."
"There’s terrific work from Samuel West as Trigorin [in The Seagull]. He’s a smooth talking, self pitying, shallow man. Ruthless too as Chekhov stresses with the central metaphor of the stuffed seagull (or second rate work of fiction) and Nina’s fate – but West articulates him so clearly and thoughtfully that he becomes a rounded character with whom one occasionally feels some sympathy.
"Sam West is unforgettably authoritative as the clinically depressed Ivanov wrestles with the agonising conundrum of depression: how to disentangle what is pitiable, pitiful and pitiless in the contagion of this condition."
"Sam West excelled as the melancholic Ivanov, and a writer who knows he is second rate in The Seagull."