Uncle Vanya

Previewed 23 April 2014, Opened 24 April 2014, Closed 3 May 2014 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London

Mossovet State Academic Theatre present Andrei Konchalovsky's revival of Anton Chekov's Uncle Vanya in London for a strictly limited season of just seven performances. Performed in Russian with English surtitles.

Vanya, Yelena, Astrov and Sonya are all in love, with the past, with ideals and with each other. As their universe shifts around them they struggle to keep their emotions at bay in this exquisitely evoked comedy of the trials and tribulations of the human condition.

This production plays in repertory with Three Sisters and is presented by the Государственный академический театр имени Театр Моссовета, which is one of the oldest theatres in Moscow having been founded in 1923. The director Andrei Konchalovsky says: "I am delighted to bringing these two Russian productions to London's West End. No matter how many times you appeal to Chekhov, he is inexhaustible. Every time his work is seen on stage, you find something unnoticed, unexperienced and undiscovered."

Anton Chekhov's plays include The Wood Demon, The Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull and Ivanov

Uncle Vanya in London at the Noel Coward Theatre previews from 23 April 2014, opens on 24 April 2014 (at 2.30pm) and closes on 3 May 2014.


2012 Uncle Vanya directed by Lindsay Posner

Previewed 24 October 2012, Opened 2 November 2012, Closed 26 January 2013 at the Vaudeville Theatre in London

A major revival of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya in London starring Ken Stott, Anna Friel and Samuel West in an adaptation by Christopher Hampton and directed by Lindsay Posner.

The cast for this production features Ken Stott as 'Vanya', Anna Friel as 'Yelena' and Samuel West as 'Astrov'. The production is directed by Lindsay Posner with designs by Christopher Oram.

"Good for Lindsay Posner, the director of this pitch-perfect production, for not choosing a big-star name to play the title role, but a proper, solid stage actor in Ken Stott. He specialises in lugubrious characters and there's a lot of that doomed comedian in his Vanya. Vanya has the thankless task of running the estate of his brother-in-law, Serebryakov, an ageing, pompous professor who's played with aplomb by Paul Freeman... In the play's dramatic high point, Vanya shoots Serebryakov and misses. Tragic but also funny, it is a scene that is as Hancockian as it is Chekhovian in Stott's hands. He is a member of a fine ensemble... the acting honours go, however, to Laura Carmichael as Sonya, Vanya's plain niece... If you are into depressing plays, this production is, paradoxically, an unalloyed joy." The Sunday Telegraph

"Laura Carmichael's plaintive, plain Sonya is one of the strengths of Lindsay Posner's exceptionally starry but disappointingly lacklustre revival. Her blushing joy when she dares to say how much she loves Astrov is wretchedly moving. Few of the other performances have sufficient intensity either to pierce or amuse, though Samuel West cuts a dash as Astrov, dapper and idealistic but emotionally shrivelled... Stott captures Vanya's grumpiness and frustration, but he's neither as ridiculous nor as sympathetic as he might be. Christopher Hampton's witty version has its moments... but Posner's very traditional, stuffy approach is slowed by lengthy scene changes, when one over-exquisitely aged and distressed setting in the wooden dacha is replaced by another rather similar one... This production is perfectly competent but never makes one see or hear the play afresh." The Mail on Sunday

Uncle Vanya in London at the Vaudeville Theatre previewed from 24 October 2012, opened on 2 November 2012 and closes on 26 January 2013 (was originally scheduled to close on 16 February 2013).


2012 Vakhtangov's Uncle Vanya directed by Rimas Tuminas

From 5 to 10 November 2012 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London

The Russian theatre company Vakhtangov presents Chekhov's Uncle Vanya in London for a strictly limited one week season.

In Vakhtangov's production of Uncle Vanya there is no Chekhovian mansion, no cosy arm-chairs and no table laid for lunch with a lacy tablecloth and hot samovar; no feeling of 'home' where several generations have lived. Instead the stage has been released from the familiar and the domestic, leaving behind a battlefield of passions, broken illusions and unrealized hopes. Daily life turns imperceptibly into poetry, the drama acquires a tinge of tender irony and every detail on the stage arouses the audience's emotions.

The cast for Vakhtangov's Uncle Vanya in London features Sergey Makovetsky, Vladimir Simonov, Ludmila Maksakova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov and Galina Konovalova. The production is directed by Rimas Tuminas with designs by Adomas Yatsovskis and music by Faustas Latenas. PLEASE NOTE: This play Performed in Russian with English subtitles. This productions comes to the Noel Coward Theatre following the successful 2011 season at the theatre by the Sovremennik who presented Russian language versions of Eugenia Ginzburg's Into The Whirlwind and Anton Chekov's Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.

"Vakhtangov's director, Rimas Tuminas, creates a surreal, Beckett-like atmosphere in which the action is wildly inventive - even the chickens go mad. Beneath it all, though, there is a wonderful physicality about the Russian actors, especially Sergey Makovetsky's bumbling Vanya." The Sunday Times

"The Vakhtangov production looks and feels radically different... The central element of Adomas Yatsovskis' set is a large, brutal workbench on which the characters' emotional dilemmas are, sometimes literally, hammered out... Every character is constantly self-dramatising his or her assorted distresses. Vladimir Simonov's Serebryakov is so vigorous in his nocturnal illness that he resembles the late madcap Kenneth Mars. The departure of all visitors in the fourth and final act is what finally drains off this histrionic energy, leaving Sergey Makovetsky's Vanya so inert that he is posed and moved by Sonya like a mannequin." The Financial Times

"This mercurially brilliant import from Moscow's Vakhtangov theatre. British Chekhov tends to offer variations on the realism of Stanislavski. This dazzling production by Rimas Tuminas is in a wholly different tradition: that of the Russian director Meyerhold, who evolved a system of acting based on sports, acrobatics and clownish grotesquerie... The joy of the production lies in its total-theatre mix of words, music, mime and symbolism. Anna Dubrovskaya's Elena, stunning in white silk, bowls a circus hoop. Astrov shows her his images of deforestation on a projector with an unmistakably phallic funnel that emits puffs of steam. And there is an extraordinary moment at the end when Sonya ministers to Vanya, beautifully played by Sergey Makovetsky, as if he were a run-down machine that she had to lovingly reassemble. Anyone who saw the Vakhtangov when they brought Measure for Measure to Shakespeare's Globe this summer will know they are a first-rate troupe. Although this isn't the only way to play Uncle Vanya, their Chekhov has an unforgettable expressionist audacity." The Guardian

"There's a blackly ebullient abandon to their extraordinary account of Chekhov's great tragicomedy of wasted potential and blighted dreams. Out go the samovars, the birch trees and the Stanislavskian realism. In come a kind of Expressionist slapstick that's calculated to show how listless despair and manic hilarity can be flip-sides of the same coin and a sparsely junky, non-naturalistic design. The thwarted energies of the characters erupt in startling outbursts, such as when Sergei Makovetsky's crumpled, dumpy Vanya shakes off a fit of the blues by taking Maria Berdinskikh's waif-like but determined Sonya for a mad, victory-saluting ride round the stage on an iron plough. Mood swings are underlined by sardonically bathetic shifts of register in Faustas Latenas's continuous brooding-to-puckish musical soundtrack." The Independent

Uncle Vanya in London at the Noel Coward Theatre from 5 to 10 November 2012.