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Uncle Vanya at City Center


skynyc
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As part of the Lincoln Center Festival, the Sydney Theater Company production of this Chekhov comedy which got raves in DC last year is finally in NY.

I am so pleased to have had the chance to see it.

This new translation plays up the humor in everyday life, which adds to the pathos of hopelessness and unfulfilled dreams that are the themes of this play.

There were many laugh aloud moments as the stunning ensemble brought these familiar characters to life: the egotistical old professor and his beautiful young wife. The local doctor who's become a local celebrity, and the clever but plain young woman in love with him. The religious old nurse and the bumbling servant. And of course Vanya, the selfless man who finally makes a futile grab at happiness.

The Australian cast intact is flawless. Cate Blanchett as Yelena is at her feline best as she slinks around the stage in her early 1950s attire. A city woman stuck in the boonies with her new husband and his family. Hugo Weaving is the country doctor who fascinates her with his philosophies, and it's almost impossible to recognize him from the head of the Elves in the Lord of the Ring movies or the cross-country trekking drag-queen dad in The Adventures of Priscilla.

For me, the stand-out was Hayley McElhinney as Sonya...whose self-realization is heart-breaking, and whose fascination with her new stepmom is palpable.

The shrinking set becomes more claustrophobic as the evening proceeds, and my one quibble is that the miking wasn't quite strong enough for this large venue. Tonight was the first performance with the official opening on Saturday.

There are only ten total performances, and if you like the classics, I recommend you don't miss this.

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Sydney Theater Company

 

 

 

The Australian cast intact is flawless. Cate Blanchett as Yelena is at her feline best as she slinks around the stage in her early 1950s attire. A city woman stuck in the boonies with her new husband and his family. Hugo Weaving is the country doctor who fascinates her with his philosophies, and it's almost impossible to recognize him from the head of the Elves in the Lord of the Ring movies or the cross-country trekking drag-queen dad in The Adventures of Priscilla.

For me, the stand-out was Hayley McElhinney as Sonya...whose self-realization is heart-breaking, and whose fascination with her new stepmom is palpable.

 

I saw this "Uncle Vanya" in Washington last year. I agree that Cate Blanchett looks like an early 1950s Marilyn Monroe complete with sunglasses. But it worked very well for her; although it was a shock at the beginning of the play.

 

Much credit goes to the Sydney Theater Company for putting together the most interesting production of "Uncle Vanya," I have ever seen.

 

I liked Hugo Wearing & Hayley McElhinney as well. I could not single out one or two actors as the best...everyone was very good, often heart breakingly so.

 

I urge everyone who lives in New York, or near New York, to see this "Uncle Vanya," despite the venue (City Center). I did not think the set became more claustrophobic as the play progress at the Kennedy Center, so perhaps that is a plus for the City Center.

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