Chekhov fan. I only went to see The Cherry Orchard on opening night last Saturday for a close e' />

Okay, I'll admit I'm not much of a Chekhov fan. I only went to see The Cherry Orchard on opening night last Saturday for a close encounter of the Ethan Hawke kind. And close I got. Though, after a tedious conversation with the former Mr Uma Thurman at the after-party I can happily tell you, he's not all that. Sure, he's cute in that artsy grunge way, if grunge is a cheesecutter, a flannel shirt and a laissez-faire attitude. But, like most thespians, he's also very self-aware and seemed to be happy for us to be very aware of him, too. The pretty blonde Aussie actress Viva Bianca, who's working on the upcoming production Spartacus, appeared to play suit. I Spy-ed the pair chatting very amicably with hair being tossed and many flirtatious looks being cast.

To see the photos, click here.

I also met the rest of the high-profile cast who performed two productions, The Cherry Orchard and The Winter's Tale, in Auckland last week and I can tell you they are delightful. Simon Russell Beale performed outstandingly; so did Sinead Cusack, who was only too happy to be snapped later with our Robyn Malcolm at the after-party. She said something along the lines of "this will be the two short blondes photo". She wasn't wrong.

I overheard Josh Hamilton asking TV queen Rachel Gardner what parts of New Zealand he should visit in between the two productions. She suggested Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel for a warm water dip, which must have tickled his fancy because he took down her number in case he got lost and needed directions. An inside source told me a few cast members did head to the Coromandel, and others went to Waiheke to swim and sample wine; and a few went dolphin-watching on the water and were lucky enough to see a whale, as well.

The Cherry Orchard brought out some of our most revered acting faces, and thankfully not just Oliver Driver and the usual rent-a-crowd Shorty St faces we normally see round the traps. Elizabeth Hawthorne was there, so too were Ali Mau and Simon Dallow, Niki Caro, Vincent Ward, Emily Barclay, British actor John Rhys-Davies, One News reporter Melissa Stokes in gorgeous killer heels, Greer Robson in a sexy black trench coat and Danielle Cormack with her close friend Sue. The pair were sitting next to Tim Balme, who was not accompanied by his gorgeous other half, Katie Wolfe. Lucy Lawless looked stunning in a sexy bob accessorised by her lovely hubby Rob Tapert. They drew whispers after the show's interval when the Hollywood couple jumped two rows to empty seats to be nearer to the stage. Apparently that's not the done thing in the theatre world. The uber talented Finn family - Neil, Sharon, Liam and Elroy - attended together, though they weren't happy to pose for a family shot. Pity.

American actor Latham Gaines appeared to be the most sought-after thesp at the post-show party. He's the son of a former Miss Alabama who had a date with Elvis, but you may know him from shows such as Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, King Kong, World's Fastest Indian, Power Rangers and Xena. Everybody wanted a piece of him. Perhaps his popularity has something to do with his upcoming lead role in the highly anticipated TV series The Cult that Great Southern Television is producing.

I can tell you The Cherry Orchard was superb, and only topped by The Winter's Tale performed by the same ensemble cast on Wednesday night, where I Spy-ed Jennifer Ward-Leland, Kirk Torrance and Claire Chitham whose hubby Mikey was noticeably absent. The Bridge Project was an enormous success and here's hoping The Edge has the good sense to bring it back next year.

Rachel Glucina
Pictured above: Rebecca Hall and Ethan Hawke at the premiere of The Cherry Orchard. Photo / Norrie Montgomery