Uncle VanyaVaudeville Theatre
Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:34 AM
Posted 08 June 2012 - 11:02 AM
Posted 08 June 2012 - 05:23 PM
"Kanye is Vanya"
(actually no idea how to pronounce Kanye so not sure if that works )
Posted 08 June 2012 - 06:03 PM
Posted 08 June 2012 - 08:23 PM
Posted 10 June 2012 - 09:51 AM
Posted 26 October 2012 - 07:49 AM
Vanya is a play about self-pity - everyone on stage regrets just about everything in their life. This could be wearying in lesser hands but Chekhov found the pathos and the humour in such self-obsessed characters and so does this production. Ken Stott's raucous Vanya is a little alarming at first with his loud voice and demanding presence but, in fact, he gets it just right. All the other characters see him as the chief carrier in the epidemic of complaint and so he is. But he's also very funny and, as things unravel in the later acts, he finds real depths to his despair. His 3rd act meltdown was riveting and superb. Laura Carmichael as his soulmate Sonya is just as good. Her long speech which closes the play was wonderful - she had fellow cast members - and me - in tears.
Doctor Astrov, the idealist, the only character who hasn't given up, is a great part and Samuel West was well up to it. Restrained and repressed, his suffering is better hidden but it's there and he lets us see it in so many telling ways. Astrov can easily steal this play. The reason that West does not do so is that Anna Friel's Yelena does. I had never seen her on stage and didn't know what to expect but I couldn't take my eyes off her. And not just because she's exactly the luminous beauty everyone in the play keeps saying she is. Despite her glamour Yelena is, after Sonya, the least-confident, least assertive character on stage and Friel was able to show us that but she has a natural charisma that draws us in anyway. For once I understood why all the other characters are in such thrall to her. We all were.
On a side note, the program tells us that the performance lasts approximately two hours - with a twenty minute intermission. When I read that my reaction was, my god, what has Christopher Hampton cut? No worries. It actually played at two hours forty minutes. I stepped onto the Strand at 10.10.
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