3 Nov 2015 to 7 Nov 2015
Chekhov’s masterpiece Uncle Vanya by playwright Sam Holcroft is a gripping insight into the highs and lows, twists and turns that evolve around unrequited love. Directed by Gareth Nicholls who will also direct Tis Pity She’s A Whore early next year at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, this is sit on the edge of your seat theatre.
Holcroft was Writer-In-Residence at the National Theatre in 2013 and won the Windham Campbell prize in recognition of her emerging talent as a playwright. And rightly so. This complex weave of he loves, she doesn’t and she does but he doesn’t starts and ends quietly with Sonia and her Uncle Vanya sitting at the table, Sonia (Helen Mackay) working hard and Vanya ( Keith Fleming) distressed beyond belief due to his heavy drinking and irregular sleep patterns. Sonia’s father has returned home with his second and much younger wife Yelena and he is seriously ill.
The doctors’s called. The Doctor speaks of urban man and his lack of community and strong family bonds. His fascination with ants and their collective worker mentality that is only prevalent in tribes within the human community is his concern, ‘ urban man rests on his ability to make money….and self gratification ’ ultimately leading to the human race’s, ‘self destruction.’
Sonia drinks this in with wide-eyed idolatry. Her virgin naivety, played with such conviction that you will be locked onto her as she hangs on every word that’s uttered by Doctor Astrov ( Mark Wood ). This soulful production with scintillating acting throughout is sleek and minimal giving plenty of room for the actors to allow their polar opposite characters to breathe. A shudder went up my spine in the final scenes when Yelena (Scarlett Mack) caught members of the audiences’ eyes, mine included . Puissant and robust eye contact that pulls you into the turmoil whether you like it or not!
The Circle Studio is the perfect intimate place for Holcraft’s play where lust, incest and jealousy are picked apart with dialogue that is as much of this time as are the costumes. As for the pot noodle – modern cuisine at its urban un-tribal finest. Anton Chekov would be chuffed. FOUR STARS
Reviewer : Clare Crines