Yesterday I saw Uncle Vanya based on Chekhov, written and directed by Robert Icke (surprised to learn that he is only 29). 4 acts with 3 short (10 mins) intervals – all together it was 3,5 hours.
It is very Chekhov, but at the same time it is version, not the original play with original costumes. As far as I remember the text is true to the original (maybe a bit more swearing to my taste), however, albeit the title, they don’t call the main character Uncle Vanya but Uncle Johnny, actually they don’t mention the name ‘Vanya’ at all.
There was a revolwing stage, no walls, you could see everyone in a simple, but expressing set.
When nothing happened on the stage, just thinking and watching each other (the long silences were a bit disturbing aka boring) but then either the professor started to play on the guitar and a harmonica (at the same time) or they took a beautiful chicken to the stage. I have to admit that chicken-scene nearly stole the show. She was very funny,though I didn’t get the purpose.
The doctor was played by Tobias Menzies (Mr Elliot from Persuasion :)). He was absolutely fabulous. I’m afraid I have a celeb crush on him by now. BTW he had a scene where he was in an underwear. His body could be on the cover of Men’s Fitness.
I was surprised to learn that Richard Lumsden (Robert Ferrars from S&S :)) is an accomplished musician. He actually composes music and has several CD’s. He played Telegin brilliantly. I’m very glad I could see them on stage.
I should mention Jessica Brown Findlay who played Sonya and Paul Rhys (Uncle Vanya or rather Johnny). I haven’t known them before, but I’ll remember them. Brilliant cast.
It’s running in Almeida Theatre from 5th Feb till 26 March 2016.