Uncle Vanya at the Sydney Theatre Company

I’ve been to a couple of plays at the Sydney Theatre Company in the year I’ve been here, but last night was a star-studded showcase. I attended a night of their holiday season run of Anton Checkhov’s Uncle Vanya.

It was acted by Cate Blanchett (who’s currently artistic co-director of the STC with her husband Andrew Upton), Hugo Weaving, Richard Roxburgh, John Bell, Jacki Weaver, and more. That’s some star power, there. Blanchett, Roxburgh, Weaver, and Weaving all blew me away.

The play, as is typical for late 19th-century Russian writing, is full of despair and gloomy philosophical musings. But this production – adapted by Upton, directed by Tamás Ascher, and played by the incredible crew listed above – bring Checkhov’s grim humour out. They dance about drunkenly and make faces and swing between laughter and sobbing. This keeps the mood from becoming oppressive but somehow makes the tale sadder. Some reviewers think they’ve injected too much frivolity in order to pander to modern audiences, but I thought it was well balanced.

All nights sold out some time ago. I’m really glad I got to see it.

Roxburgh and Weaving in Uncle Vanya


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