Thursday, June 19, 2008

Uncle Vanya at Soulpepper

I cannot help myself - when they do Chekhov, I have to see it.

I have seen weirder - has any other company done 'Platonov' in the last ten years?

And now they have done Vanya in my memory twice, with roughly the same cast. Though what I saw last night was not quite as depressing, and maybe in other ways twice as depressing, as what I recall from the first production.

Chekhov is like that - his saddest lines are also his funniest. The characters you feel the most for frustrate the dickens out of you, as they are so ineffectual.

In the end the play is Sonya's and Liisa Repo-Martell is wonderful in the role; she has always been one of my favourite Chekhov actresses, from when I first saw her playing a dog in a dramatization of a Chekhov story, and may I say, playing it really well! Also, Kristen Thomson was just the right amount of voluptuous for Elena. Yumm.

And while it is not Uncle Vanya's play., I find it hard to imagine an actor who does a better job of playing Chekhov's losers than Diego Matamoros - cuckolded last year in Three Sisters, here he has to waste his life away supporting a mediocre celebrity relative.

Chekhov is a great mischief-maker, and his stories almost ring true.

Great other supporting roles - Albert Schultz as Chekhov the doctor, and Joseph Ziegler as the mediocre celebrity (he has had such great roles in the last year and done them so well).

I loved it - it was not the same depressing Uncle Vanya that Soulpepper did with pretty much this cast many years ago, but it was a really good depressing Uncle Vanya.

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