From: Friday, 6th September 2002
To: Wednesday, 20 November 2002
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Set on a crumbling country estate, Uncle Vanya is the tale of two obsessive love affairs that lead nowhere, and a flirtation that brings disaster. The irascible Vanya and his niece Sonya have managed the estate on behalf of their relative, a renowned Professor for the last twenty-five years. Now retired, the Professor and his beautiful young wife come to visit, throwing the household into disarray, igniting hidden passions and old grudges. Family ties are tested further when the ageing and gout-ridden Professor announces his plans to sell the estate and live off the proceeds in the city. By turns comic, tragic, romantic, and wistful, Chekhov's play is an unforgettable study of unfulfilled dreams and unrequited love. One of his four great masterpieces written on the eve of the twentieth century, it features a feast of subtle comic portraits of a family at logger heads with each other and the world around them, that still has resonance at the start of another new century.
18 September 2002
The second Chekhov opening in as many nights - with a third based on Chekhov characters to follow in Brian Friel's Afterplay - finds the rarely seen Ivanov (at the National) followed by the much more frequently performed Uncle Vanya (here at the Donmar). They make a fascinating pair: if stupefying boredom is the complaint of choice in the former, desperate unhappiness is the overriding theme of the latter.
"I am so unhappy," chants Simon Russell Beale's title character at the end of Uncle Vanya. "We must endure," replies his stoical niece, Sonya (Emily Watson, suppressing her natural radiance). Both have witnessed their illusions being shattered over the preceding two and a half hours.
Sonya's longing for the local doctor (Mark Strong) has gone unrequited, while he makes an early call for environmental concern over climate change that may result from the deforestation of the area. And Vanya's respect for...
Latest User Review
USER: Whatsonstage.com - 12 October 2002:
A wonderful production at the Donmar, with strong, well-drawn performances from everyone. Simon Russell Beale is incapable of a duff performance, so he was fantastic as Vanya. Pleading, slightly petulant and full of despair. I was also very impressed by Mark Strong's Astrov and Helen McCrory as Yelena. In fact, I don't think there's a weak link in the cast. The ending seemed a bit ponderous, but it's a tiny gripe. I'm not familiar with Chekhov's work but I'm keen to see more of it if it can be brought to life as it has been in this production. Andrew B...
Simon Russell Beale (Vanya)
Emily Watson (Sonya)
Selina Cadell (Marya)
Luke Jardine (Yefim)
Helen McCrory (Elena)
Cherry Morris (Marina)
Anthony O'Donnell (Telegin)
Gyuri Sarossy (Petrushka)
Mark Strong (Astrov)