Commotion greets the arrival of the carriages carrying Madame Ranyevskaya (Francesca Annis) and her family. There are leather suitcases, trunks and hat boxes. The aged Russian servant Firs (Ian McKellen, playing a man five years older than his actual age) is seen with hairy dundrearies and a bald head but in formal wear.
It was the New York Times who dubbed the late AR Gurney as the playwright who explored Upper-Crust Anxieties. In his Pulitzer Prize nominated play Love Letters, he uses the epistolatory style to explore the relationship between Andrew Makepeace Ladd III (Martin Shaw) and Melissa Gardner (Jenny Seagrove) who first meet and correspond as schoolchildren and who write letters to each other for all of her lifetime.