- Uncle Vanya review by PD
Rather frustrating viewing, sadly, because there's little effort to make this feel like a film - instead, it's like sitting through one of those cinema tie-ins from the NT, only here, perhaps because there's no audience, the whole things falls rather flat. The shooting consists of shots of the whole stage with close-ups of the actors here and there, and the result is very tired eyes and brains (I had to watch it stages - in the cinema I would have fallen asleep, and I'm a fan of this sort of thing).
The material is of course rather topical - sheer boredom from being at home with the ensuing tensions between family members, the all-too present prospect of environmental destruction, the dread of ageing, the frailties and frustrations of love - human experience never changes, but a truly dreadful translation which sounds to me like someone trying to shoehorn their own interpretation onto proceedings means that you're forever trying to guess what this is rather than being absorbed into Chekhov. Toby Jones and Richard Armitage are fine actors, but it requires a huge suspension of disbelief to identify with them here, and the staging and pace are so staid that the only effect is to try our patience: the (essential)humour all but lost. And whoever instructed the woefully miscast Aimee Lou Wood (an impossibly young and attractive Sonia) to be nodding and shaking her head during the last speech needs to watch it over and over again to make sure they never do this again. A big disappointment, I'm afraid.
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