Theatre Works presents Uncle Vanya - Review

Theatre Works presents Uncle Vanya - Review


Posted 2023-06-11 by Mistress of Culture Vulturesfollow

Wed 07 Jun 2023 - Sat 17 Jun 2023

See Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya produced by Anthropocene Play Company
on now until 17 June 2023 at Theatre Works in St Kilda. [LINK=]

Book your tickets before it sells out.[/LINK]

Set in a large country estate, Uncle Vanya (Dion Mills) is bored, tired, and unhappy. Like the tea in the samovar, Vanya is surrounded by lukewarm people who are as dark and miserable as a Russian winter.

Uncle Vanya becomes frustrated with repetitive conversations and stories about the 'same-old same-old' and drinking vodka only makes him feel more depressed. Vanya has worked hard to pay off the property debts of his forebears – but where are the fruits of his labour?

However, Uncle Vanya is not alone in his despair. Ilia Telegin (Callam Mackay) a hopeless bachelor tells of how his wife ran off with another man one day after marrying him. Ilia claims he has stayed faithful to her all these years, even though she has married and had children with another man.

Meanwhile Uncle Vanya's niece Sophia (Alex Marshall) has a crush on Doctor Astroff (Catherine Morvell) an environmentalist who is staying at the estate. Sophia confides her secret to Helena, who agrees to seek out whether Dr Astroff has reciprocal feelings.

Professor Alexander Serebrakoff (Sebastian Gunner) wants to sell the estate for a life in the city with his new and younger wife Helena (Pia O'Meadhra). Vanya is in love with Helena but missed his opportunity and suffers each day he sees her with the retired professor who is ill and ailing.

Anthropocene Play Company has brought new life to this classic Chekhov drama and it is great to see classic works on stage again in Melbourne. Director Bronwen Coleman has added a magnificent and refreshing twist to this traditional Chekhov tale, by reimagining Dr Astroff as female. This ups the stakes for both the characters and the audience and provides a new narrative to this classic saga. The cast brings a natural realism to the stage and make every moment count with their mannerisms, characterisation, and presence. The costumes (Harry Gill), sound (Bronwen Coleman), and lighting design (Sidney Younger) are rustic, poised, and reflect the 1890s in rural Russia.

The women in this production of Uncle Vanya are the redeeming quality to this otherwise sad household. Sophia expresses a purity of love for her Uncle Vanya and a teenage crush on Dr Astroff. Helena represents the new and developing Russia, a place of ideas and opportunity. Marina (Clare Lareman) the Babushka continually keeps a positive countenance amongst the distress and keeps the samovar warm. Dr Astroff is concerned about the effect of overdevelopment to the trees and forests, with the sale of Professor Serebrakoff's estate.

Although Chekhov's Uncle Vanya appears as a long and dreary saga, it is a dark comedy, where the audience cannot help but sit back and laugh at the inane distress of the characters.

Chekhov wrote Uncle Vanya during his final years when he was suffering from tuberculosis. Uncle Vanya looks at what happens when we feel confined and are unable to find a way out – whether physically, emotionally, or psychologically.

Whilst Chekhov might have been making social commentary on aspects of Russian society, the themes remain relevant today – especially considering our experiences of the pandemic lockdown in Melbourne and our re-emergence into society.

Bravo to Theatre Works and Anthropocene Play Company for providing a new light on Uncle Vanya!

#theatre -reviews
!date 07/06/2023 -- 17/06/2023
222540 - 2023-07-14 04:53:15


Copyright 2024 OatLabs ABN 18113479226