Chekhov's Uncle Vanya - 'Vanya' - adapted by Simon Stephens and starring Andrew Scott playing all the characters? Well, of course, I had to buy a ticket, it's ANDREW SCOTT, but I was equally curious about the concept and what it would add to the play.
I've seen a few productions and am familiar with the story. Note: If you are not, it's worth glancing over a plot summary in prep, but more on that later.
Chatting to the woman sitting next to me, she had never seen a production before and asked if it was a comedy. "It depends on how it's done", was my reply. Chekhov's plays can be funny.
I followed up with: "Are you familiar with classic Russian literature? Tragedy of inaction, that sort of thing?"
"Yes, love that", was her reply.
Vanya is part unrequited love story, part exploration of a life's purpose. It's about those toiling away on a rural estate to support the 'genius' professor who came into possession of it via his first marriage.
His daughter Sonia, brother-in-law Vanya and mother-in-law work hard to generate funds for his city life. When he visits with his new young wife, Helena, it throws the estate in turmoil.
Simon Stephen's adaptation sees a more naturalistic and modern dialogue. The setting is transported to Ireland, which allows Scott to use his natural accent.