The Arts

Soulpepper – Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya

Soulpepper – Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya featured image

by Paula Citron.
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Uncle Vanya
Soulpepper
Written by Anton Chekhov
Directed by Laszlo Marton
Starring Diego Matamoros, Albert Schultz, Liisa Repo-Martell, Kristen Thomson and Joseph Ziegler
At the Young Centre until Jun. 21.
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Director Laszlo Marton’s 2001 questionable production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya is being remounted by Soulpepper.

Marton took the risk of making his Russian aristocrats coarse and vulgar. There is simply no class here except for Joseph Ziegler as the Professor. Liisa Repo-Martell as Sonya and Kristen Thomson as Elena are woefully miscast. Both actors are usually excellent, but unfortunately, Repo-Martell screeches and Thomson doesn’t have an alluring siren bone in her entire body.

Marton starts the acting off at such an emotional high that there is nowhere to go but melodramatic hysteria at the end. That being said, Diego Matamoros as Vanya and Albert Schultz as the doctor do manage to eke out poignant moments amid the sturm und drang.
The production is not helped by Michael Levine’s confused sets and costumes that bridge different eras.

Some critics and audiences have praised the production, but for me, it is Chekhov overkill.

Uncle Vanya continues at the Young Centre until Jun. 21.

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