Uncle Vanya Harold Pinter Theatre

REVIEW ROUND-UP: Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre

In Features, London theatre, Native, Opinion, Plays, Reviews, Ticket recommendations by Emma ClarendonLeave a Comment

Richard Armitage and Toby Jones star in Ian Rickson’s production at the Harold Pinter Theatre.

The Guardian: ★★★★★ “Every character is fully realised, including the ancillary roles that bring more than comic relief.”

The Independent: ★★★ “Every single player here evokes their character’s ennui terrifically – but it is so dimly lit, the staging so staid, the pace so unhurried, that the ennui is catching.”

The Telegraph: ★★★★ “My only real complaint is that it’s all a bit business as usual – a sensitive period Chekhov. Prince Charles reckons we’ve got just 10 years to fix the climate crisis or its curtains. Can we actually afford another reading of this classic that dwells on its passing psychic storms, rather than brings home its dire forecast?”

London Theatre.co.uk: ★★★★ “This richly detailed production is housed within a stunning set by Rae Smith, gorgeously lit by Bruno Poet and hauntingly scored by composer Stephen Warbeck.”

The Stage: ★★★★ “Ian Rickson’s production is polished to a high shine. The emotional arcs, the richness of the performances, the lucidity of the adaptation, the sumptuous design: everything about it gleams. There are no rough edges. It’s almost too controlled, too clean.”

Time Out: ★★★★ “Rickson’s productions are never knowingly unexquisite, and his Vanya is beautifully lit by Bruno Poet, shafts of late summer sun drifting in through the windows of Rae Smith’s evocative set, which presents Serebryakov’s house in subtly abstract fashion, overwhelmed on the one side by a spreading thicket of weeds. Sometimes, dare I say it, Rickson’s extreme exquisiteness can lead to slightly dull productions. That’s absolutely not the case here: the play comes to the boil in the scene where a furious, despairing Vanya confronts Serebryakov, and it’s played just right here.”

Evening Standard: ★★★★ “Jones deftly balances pathos and humour, but he is matched by Eleazar and Wood. This is a Vanya for our times.”

There Ought to be Clowns:Toby Jones excels as the rumpled Vanya, caught in a moment of existential realisation when the rug is pulled from under his rather cushy situation, (barely) looking after the family estate. Downcast without ever being too desperate, his is a deeply empathetic portrayal that connects beautifully with those around him.”

The Upcoming: ★★★ “Other passages suffer from a lack of chemistry. And there’s maybe a dearth of ambition on behalf of McPherson and director Ian Rickson. Honestly, for plenty of people this will be exactly what they want from a night out at the theatre – there’s plenty to recommend. It’s just hard to feel excited by it.”

Broadway World: ★★★★★ “Director Ian Rickson has created a Vanya for 2020 that can be enjoyed by a first-timer as much as by a veteran of SeagullsSisters and Orchards past. Amy Ball has assembled a perfect cast to deliver that vision and they do not disappoint.”

Uncle Vanya will play at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 2 May 2020.

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Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.
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Emma Clarendon on FacebookEmma Clarendon on InstagramEmma Clarendon on RssEmma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.

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