CAN’T GET TICKETS? The Box Office will sell any returned tickets 1 hour before the show. Customers wanting to queue before that time are welcome to do so in our foyer and we will provide a seating area. Please note that customers can purchase a maximum of 2 return tickets. It is essential to be at Hampstead Theatre to join our returns queue. We cannot offer any places via telephone or email, or sell any returns earlier than one hour before the performance.
When Kolia is invited to visit his oldest friends on their Estate in the country he anticipates a pleasant break from Moscow life. But as the comedy of provincial life plays out around him, he finds himself adrift in a miasma of false expectations, missed opportunities and unspoken passions.
From two short stories by the Russian master Anton Chekhov, renowned and award winning novelist William Boyd (An Ice-Cream War, Brazzaville Beach, Any Human Heart, Restless, Waiting for Sunrise) spins a tale of nineteenth century Russian life both familiar and unfamiliar.
Director Nina Raine makes a triumphant return to Hampstead Theatre following the sell-out Tiger Country in 2010. Other credits include Shades (Royal Court) and Unprotected (Liverpool Everyman).
Iain Glen (Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones) makes his Hampstead Theatre debut. Theatre credits include Uncle Vanya (Print Room/West End), Ghosts (West End) and The Crucible (West End). Film credits include The Iron Lady and Tomb Raider.
Nina Raine reunites with Tamsin Greig following their critically acclaimed Jumpy (Royal Court / West End) last year. Greig also makes her Hampstead Theatre debut following Little Dog Laughed (Garrick), Gethsemene (National Theatre) and God of Carnage (Gielgud). Television includes Episodes (BBC), Green Wing and Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4).
John Sessions’ theatre credits include My Night With Reg (Royal Court / West End), Waiting For Godot (Young Vic) and The Orton Diaries (National Theatre). Television includes Stella Street and The History of Tom Jones (BBC). His many film credits include The Iron Lady and Made In Dagenham.
Running time is approximately 2 hours including a 20 minute interval.
Dates & Times
|Thu 28 Feb||7:30pm||Preview||Archived|
|Fri 1 Mar||7:30pm||Preview||Archived|
|Sat 2 Mar||7:30pm||Preview||Archived|
|Mon 4 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Tue 5 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Wed 6 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Thu 7 Mar||7:00pm||Press Night||Archived|
|Fri 8 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Sat 9 Mar||3:00pm||Archived|
|Sat 9 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Mon 11 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Tue 12 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Wed 13 Mar||2:30pm||Archived|
|Wed 13 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Thu 14 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Fri 15 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Sat 16 Mar||3:00pm||Archived|
|Sat 16 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Mon 18 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Tue 19 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Wed 20 Mar||2:30pm||Archived|
|Wed 20 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Thu 21 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Fri 22 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Sat 23 Mar||3:00pm||Archived|
|Sat 23 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Mon 25 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Tue 26 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Wed 27 Mar||2:30pm||Archived|
|Wed 27 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Thu 28 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Fri 29 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Sat 30 Mar||3:00pm||Archived|
|Sat 30 Mar||7:30pm||Archived|
|Mon 1 Apr||7:30pm||Archived|
|Tue 2 Apr||7:30pm||Archived|
|Wed 3 Apr||2:30pm||Archived|
|Wed 3 Apr||7:30pm||Archived|
|Thu 4 Apr||7:30pm||Archived|
|Fri 5 Apr||7:30pm||Archived|
|Sat 6 Apr||3:00pm||Audio described Performance||Archived|
|Sat 6 Apr||7:30pm||Archived|
Nina Raine’s production captures Chekhov’s distinctive mixture of heartache and comedy and Lizzie Clachan’s lovely autumnal design of a decayed summerhouse in an autumnal country estate conjures the Chekhovian mood perfectly.The best scenes involve Iain Glen as the lawyer, who like Chekhov himself seems terrified of attachment, and Tamsin Greig as the doctor friend who has long held a torch for him. Their scenes together create a truly Chekhovian atmosphere of rueful longing and the cruel inequality of love.
Eve Ponsonby is also touching as the young Natasha who feels pressured to make a lucrative marriage to save the family from disaster.
Nina Raines’s production achieves some virtuosic flourishes during a riotous party in the summer house, at which the feckless husband, played with a memorably toxic mixture of pomposity, foolishness and malice by Alan Cox, gets disastrously drunk, while John Sessions suggests much of the rough vigour of the wealthy engineer.
William Boyd has fused two Chekhov stories from the 1890s, A Visit to Friends and My Life, to create a new play. The result is inevitably something of a hybrid: neither pure Boyd nor pure Chekhov. But it works because it deals with eternal Russian themes – and because it is performed with rare musical precision.
Nina Raine’s production gains immeasurably from luxury casting. Iain Glen is remarkable as Kolia, suggesting a man who – possibly like Chekhov himself – combines effortless charm and emotional ruthlessness. Tamsin Greig, as the middle-aged doctor clearly besotted by him, subtly evokes the quiet anguish of the unfulfilled heart. And there is a clutch of fine performances from Alan Cox as the alcoholic Sergei, Natasha Little as his despairing wife and William Postlethwaite as the well-born Misail who has a Tolstoyan urge to identify with the workers.
A new Chekhov play, Longing, has been created by novelist William Boyd from two of the Russian author’s short stories and given a wonderfully skilled and well-cast production by Nina Raine that certainly looks Chekhovian.
Designer Lizzie Clachan provides silver birches and sycamore, birdsong (tits and blackbirds), a colourful betrothal party, samovars and brandy bottles, and a delightful summer house in the wooded corner of a run-down country estate.
The play is tilted towards a melancholic nearly-reunion of Kolia and Varia, and it’s expertly, very touchingly played, with no swooning or sentiment, by Glen (last year’s outstanding Uncle Vanya) and Greig. The young girls, too, are exceptionally good, and Cox and Sessions fill out their contrasting studies in irresponsible alcoholic bonhomie and go-getting, landscape-changing interference with great gusto.