Watching Uncle Vanya at HOME this evening I found myself, for a split second at least, imagining how much fun Christmas would be, just once, with Vanya round for dinner.
As a country household struggles to survive on what income it can scavenge and the tedious nature of an isolated life bleeds its inhabitants of all their drive there are glimmers of love, of hope and of possibility. A city dwelling brother-in-law, academic and family beacon has returned but his near mythical status is lost in age, self importance and gout, turns Vanya to loathe his presence and lament on his own time spent and lost supporting such a worthless cause of a man.
Nick Holder plays Vanya brilliantly, making the character his own you cannot help but smile as he moves awkwardly or dances drunkenly. His lovable and some what desperate advances on his brother-in-laws young wife, the object of desire throughout this whole story, are delivered in such a way that you know he deserves someone of his own to adore. Alas however it is not Yelena (Hara Yannas) a whistful character floating around the household.
As the story unfolds and the local doctor spends more time at the house love, adoration and lust fall into the tale and it is at this point that plain and ordinary Sonya (Katie West) comes into her own, portrayed in such a spectacular way that my heart broke over and over for this young girl in so much pain.
Guns are fired, cigarettes are smoked and vodka is drunk as Nanna knits a bobble hat, Grandma reads and Telegin is haplessly forgettable. The adapted text makes this Chekhov piece accessible and a ultimately a joy to watch.
Part of HOME’s new Autumn Winter Season , A Revolution Betrayed?
UNCLE VANYA runs throughout November, full listings and tickets are available here