Review: Uncle Vanya, directed for the screen on the Harold Pinter stage - how does it compare?
Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre, starring Toby Jones, Richard Armitage, Eleanor Eleazar and Aimee Lou Wood, was one of the last plays I saw before theatres closed and it's safe to say I adored it. Which, considering me and Chekhov have a difficult relationship, is saying something.
So when it was announced that the cast was reuniting under Covid-safe conditions to re-perform the play on stage but this time directed for camera, I didn't hesitate to get a ticket to see it on the big screen.
But how did it compare to the original stage directed version?
Well, the first thing to say is that the only cast change for the filmed version was Roger Allam stepping in for Ciaran Hinds to play the professor.
Allam is slightly less intimidating than Hinds but that didn't make any material difference.
As for the filming, without the constraints of a live audience, the piece felt less stagey and more like an actual film than the NT Live productions.
In fact, you quickly forgot you were watching something performed on stage - the only reminders were the doors through which the actors exited the stage. They are part of the theatre and therefore a more contemporary style to the rest of the set.
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