Review Round Up: Uncle Vanya, Hampstead Theatre

Alan Cox stars as  Vanya in Terry Johnson’s new adaptation of Chekhov’s classic play at the Hampstead Theatre. Find out what the critics made of it with Love London Love Culture’s review round up… 


Financial Times: *** “although almost every isolated moment seems right, the sum of the parts slips out of kilter and feels — odd though it is to use the word about Chekhov — underpowered.”

The Times: ** “This Chekhov staging looks good but needs far more fury and lust.”

Hampstead Highgate Express: *** “While some of Chekhov’s gift for conjuring atmosphere is lost – the storm is perfunctory and there’s not much sense of the relentless heat – there is poetry in the exquisite set with its birch trees growing inside the frame of the manor house, beautifully lit by Ben Ormerod.”

The Guardian: *** “It is always a pleasure to see this heart-wrenching play, even if Johnson’s production lacks the rage for life that accompanies the Chekhovian sense of death.”

The Stage: **** “It’s less heartbreaking than some interpretations, but it cleverly clocks that special brand of Chekhovian humour, where existentialist doom goes hand-in-hand with guttural laughter.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “The problem is that his production is both decorative – all pale green walls and pretty birch trees courtesy of designer Tim Shortall, with balalaika music between the acts – and too decorous. Like Yeliena herself it glides along the surface of things, without ever quite exploring the deep, dark emotions it is stirring up.”

Evening Standard: *** “Yet despite sensitive performances, notably from Alice Bailey Johnson as Sonia, there’s not enough sense of the sheer density of the play’s key relationships. The ending retains its insistent melancholy, but other poignant moments are diluted.”

Broadway World: *** “All in all, Johnson’s Uncle Vanya is a valid rendition of Chekhov’s work, and will be a refreshing and interesting take for those who are already acquainted with the Russian playwright. As this version strays substantially from the tragic air of the tragicomedy, it might, however, be misleading for the ones who are less familiar.”

Time Out: **** “Bits of Johnson’s modernised language sometime jar, but – cribbing from one of Uncle Vanya’s key lines – this nicely judged production manages to be painful as well as funny.”

Uncle Vanya continues to play at the Hampstead Theatre until the 12th January 2019. For more information and to book tickets visit:


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