Uncle Vanya

Casting new light on a dark tale

The provincial and the cosmopolitan collide in a fresh retelling of Uncle Vanya, Anton Chekhov’s celebrated portrait of unsaid emotions and unrequited love. Brought back to the stage by an award-winning ensemble, the production unites Olivier Award-winners Conor McPherson (director) and Toby Jones, who takes on the title role. They are joined by much lauded director Ian Rickson and a cast that includes Richard Armitage, back on the London stage for the first time in six years after his star turn in The Crucible.

Spotlight on a dark comedy

At its heart, Uncle Vanya is a play that examines the meaning (and ultimate futility) of life – showing the quiet drama that can unfold in the most humdrum of circumstances. It’s told through the prism of a fin-de-siècle Russian country estate, worked by crumpled Uncle Vanya and his niece Sonya, who count Sonya’s grandmother and local doctor Astrov as their few companions.

Their stifling summer is interrupted by the out-of-the-blue arrival of Sonya’s father – and Vanya’s once brother-in-law – coming to reclaim the family estate for sale. Along with his charismatic new wife, his appearance awakens old grievances – and new passions. It’s a tale as relevant now as it was at its Moscow premier in 1899.

Often called Chekhov’s tragicomedy masterpiece, expect a dash of dark humour in this contemporary adaptation. Conor McPherson’s staging brings this evocatively to the fore, with a shadowy set lit beautifully by Bruno Poet.

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14 January - 2 May 2020


Harold Pinter Theatre
Panton St