Uncle Vanya Earns Raves From Tough Critics

Note: This is an archived entry that’s several years old. While I have ensured that all photos are restored, some links may no longer work. If you encounter any dead links, let me know and I’ll try to find a copy of the material. Some entries may not be up to my current standards as far as photo source and other credits are concerned; if you are a photographer or writer of a piece that lacks appropriate acknowledgement, please let me know and I’ll be happy to add source info.

Hugo Weaving in Washington DC; Baltimore Sun photo

I’m thrilled to report that STC’s Uncle Vanya is being well-received, both by the theater-going public and the critics. Today the production earned passionate raves from two of the foremost papers in the country, the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Times’ Ben Bratley in particular is notoriously tough and I haven’t read many 100% positive reviews from him, but he called Vanya ” three hours [that] are among the happiest of my theatergoing life.” He later adds “… the entire cast — which also includes Jacki Weaver (unrecognizable from her Oscar-nominated turn in Animal Kingdom ) as the old family nanny, Sandy Gore as Vanya’s petulant mother and Anthony Phelan as a hapless hanger-on — is close to Ms. Blanchett’s level (and in the case of Mr. Weaving, right there on it). They all give thoroughly detailed physical performances, in which you always feel both the chafe and dubious comfort of domestic intimacy.”

The Washington Post said, “…All your suppositions about Chekhov’s soulful gentility fly out the doors of the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater with this tornadic rendering of a country estate consuming itself in the misery of missed opportunities. Who says torpor isn’t a dynamic noun? In director Tamas Ascher’s inspired conception, even the bugs we hear whirring around the inhabitants’ faces are calculated to drive up the harassment index, the sense that the household is being driven to distraction by forces minuscule and monumental.”

Click on the links for the full reviews, which do contain some plot spoilers (theater critics tend to assume audiences have not only read the texts but seen multiple prior productions.) 😉

Unfortunately, no new pics of Hugo have come in yet; it’s possible he wasn’t recognized with a full beard at the opening night reception, but it’s more likely that Cate Blanchett proved too dazzling for the photographers to ignore, even for a second. Hopefully as the run continues, we’ll see more images of him in character at least. I’ll add new reviews and pics as they come in.

Hugo Weaving and Jackie Weaver in Uncle Vanya rehearsals, Sydney 2010; Sydney Morning Herald photo


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