UNCLE VANYA

BY ANTON CHEKHOV
A NEW VERSION WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY TERRY JOHNSON

Running time: 2 HOURS 30 MINUTES INCLUDING AN INTERVAL

£10 - £37 (See ticket information)

Don’t be miserable, you wonderful woman; be a mermaid. There’s the ocean; throw yourself in. Fall in love with some poor mortal and drag him down with you.
Astonish us!

Main Stage

Choose a date and select your own seats online

30 Nov 2018 - 12 Jan 2019
£10 - £37

Box Office: 020 7722 9301

'Pure Chekhov – despairing and comical' | ★★★★ The Telegraph
'The most distinctive thing about this revival is that it is very funny' | ★★★★ Time Out
'Revels in Chekhov's comedy' | ★★★★ The Stage


On an estate deep in provincial Russia time seems frozen: managing its affairs on behalf of her father, Sonia and her uncle Vanya have consigned themselves to a life of loveless drudgery, enlivened solely by the odd pamphlet from Moscow and the occasional visits of their neighbour, the doctor. 

But when Sonia’s father and his stunning second wife Yeliena burst onto the scene, everything is thrown into confusion. As beauty stirs repressed desires and youth teases maturity, years of perilously supressed regrets, longings and unrequited loves threaten to explode into farcical life… 

Terry Johnson’s new version of Anton Chekhov’s classic tragicomedy is charged with the Russian master’s wit and his acute observation of the comic absurdity of human life.

Alan Cox will take the title role of as Vanya and is joined by Paul HamiltonAlice Bailey Johnson, Abbey Lee, Kika Markham, Alec Newman, David Shaw-Parker, Robin Soans and June Watson.

Olivier and Tony Award-winner Terry Johnson returns to Hampstead following his critically acclaimed hit Prism starring Robert Lindsay and Hysteria starring Antony Sher. His many other writing and directing credits include The Graduate and Mrs Henderson Presents (both West End).

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  • The Telegraph

    'What’s that beautiful Yeats line – “gather me/ into the artifice of eternity”? It’s hard not to think of it when watching Uncle Vanya.

    There is talk of God on Professor Serebriakov’s estate in the middle of lord-knows-where. "What we forget, God remembers," warmly advises the old nurse Marina at the start to careworn doctor Astrov as he shudders at thoughts of signal-man who died on his operating table and wonders whether the future will glance back at their struggles. The woman who yearns for Astrov, Vanya’s niece Sonia, affirms her faith that, through self-denying toil, a divine reward lies in wait: "We shall hear the angels sing," as Terry Johnson’s new version at Hampstead puts it.

    As played by Alice Bailey Johnson (daughter of the playwright-director, yet also spot-on in the role), Sonia makes these famous last words ring with conviction. Yet something in Alan Cox’s disbelieving eyes as Vanya, and it’s not just the suggestion of tears, lets slip the implication that celestial salvation is a construct.'

    "In the name of God, I’m 47," Cox’s Vanya exclaims, as he builds to a peak of incredulous resentment that Robin Soans’s decrepit academic Serebriakov (his brother in law) has bagged such a beauty for his second wife (Abbey Lee’s Yeliena, a transfixing picture of regal ennui). “If I live to be 60, that’s another 13 years. I can’t do that. How am I going to survive...?” He looks appalled. It’s pure Chekhov – despairing and comical, an inversion of the habitual gratitude for more time that taps a different mortal dread.'

    'His narrowed eyes at Serebriakov’s blasé proposal to sell-off the estate (rendering Vanya’s work in shreds, his prospects bleak) slice the air with silent venom. He explodes, he crumples, he wilts, rallies.'

    'There’s subtlety like that across the board – Soans crushing Vanya with an added weight on the word "nonentity", Kika Markham bubbling like a samovar with misdirected maternal affection as Maryia, in snobbish thrall to her son-in-law’s academic reputation; June Watson bumbling delightfully as the babushka Marina, and David Shaw-Parker impressing as the pitifully cheery-minded hanger-on Telyeghin.'

    'Schastlivogo Rozhdestva!'

    Uncle Vanya, Hampstead Theatre, review: Pure Chekhov - Despairing and Comical
    ,
  • Time Out

    'Terry Johnson's witty take on Chekhov more than raises a chuckle

    The most distinctive thing about this revival of Anton Chekhov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’ is that it is very funny. Newly adapted and directed by Hampstead Theatre regular Terry Johnson in the venue's main space, it turns a highly wry eye on the constant laments of the men and is all the better for it.'

    'Cox is great at teasing out the slide into bathos in every one of Vanya’s handwringing speeches. He makes his grumpy sniping highly amusing. Similarly, as the vodka-swilling doctor, Astrov, who’s constantly popping by the house, Alex Newman combines messy charm with an incredible case of tin ear. He’ll happily bemoan deforestation but grumble when a patient needs him.'

    'Making a strong stage debut as Yeliena, Serebriakov’s much younger new wife, Abbey Lee is a restless presence. Her distress as the various men around her swoon, professing their undying passion for her without really ever seeing her, is a fractured thing. She’s constantly tilting her head, deflecting attention, trying to smile.'

    'The standout here, though, is Alice Bailey Johnson as Sonia, Serebriakov’s daughter. Stuck looking after the family estate, in love with Astrov who ignores her in favour of Yeliena, she could just be portrayed as browbeaten and dutiful. But Johnson makes her defiant, quirky and relatable. She’s often sharply funny and captures the chafe of Sonia’s position – the potential trampled on.'

    'The rest of the cast beautifully capture the idiosyncrasies of the other characters that are dotted around the family home like dusty ornaments.'

    '...this nicely judged production manages to be painful as well as funny.'

    'Uncle Vanya' Review
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  • The Stage

    'Chekhov was funny. Not ha-ha funny all the time, but funny nonetheless. Terry Johnson’s new version of Uncle Vanya – which he also directs – emphasises the crackling wit of the original, revelling in its dour comedy. It’s less heartbreaking than some interpretations, but it cleverly clocks that special brand of Chekhovian humour, where existentialist doom goes hand-in-hand with guttural laughter.

    The characters also undergo subtle changes. Alan Cox is a less dishevelled Vanya than in other productions. A largely charming eccentric, albeit with an extra-dry taste in jokes, he reserves any obvious unravelling until right towards the end.

    Making her stage debut, Abbey Lee brings out the softer side of Yeliena. There’s a faint naivety to her tone and mannerisms that removes any hint of cynicism from her marriage to the much older Serebriakov (Robin Soans).

    But the most fascinating aspect of Johnson’s staging is Sonia. Played by Alice Bailey Johnson, she stops being poor, downtrodden, ‘plain’ Sonia and instead becomes far funnier, more determined and less in the shadow of her new stepmother.

    The whole thing is gorgeously lit by Ben Ormerod who slightly darkens the endless summer rays so that there’s always the faintest suggestion of sunsets and endings.

    Likewise, Tim Shortall’s design turns the country estate into the timber frame of a house, half-enfolded into the woodland around it. Trees grow through the living room and leaves collect in piles next to the pantry. Tinted mint green, the house is already part-memory, a relic from another era.'

    Uncle Vanya review at Hampstead Theatre, London – ‘revels in Chekhov’s comedy’
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Artistic team

WRITER & DIRECTOR

TERRY JOHNSON

DESIGNER

TIM SHORTALL

LIGHTING

BEN ORMEROD

SOUND

EMMA LAXTON

COMPOSER

COLIN TOWNS

casting

SUZANNE CROWLEY AND GILLY POOLE

Cast

UNCLE VANYA: ★★★★ FROM THE TELEGRAPH

Posted on 12 December 2018

Dominic Cavendish awards Terry Johnson's new version of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya four stars.

UNCLE VANYA: ★★★★ FROM THE STAGE

Posted on 7 December 2018

Rosemary Waugh awards Terry Johnson's new version of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya four stars.

UNCLE VANYA: PRESS NIGHT PHOTOS

Posted on 7 December 2018

Thursday 6 December was Press Night for Terry Johnson's new version of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, now playing until 12 January. Guests included Alison Steadman, Clarke Peters, Claire Skinner and Geoffrey Streatfeild.

UNCLE VANYA: ★★★★ FROM TIME OUT

Posted on 7 December 2018

Tom Wicker awards Terry Johnson's new version of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya four stars.

THE WOOD DEMON AND UNCLE VANYA

Posted on 21 November 2018

An excerpt written by Donald Rayfield taken from the Uncle Vanya programme

TERRY JOHNSON: A CAREER IN PICTURES

Posted on 28 September 2018

We take a look back at just a few of Terry Johnson's career highlights

CHEKHOV AND ADAPTATION

Posted on 28 September 2018

An exclusive article by Donald Rayfield

NEW MAIN STAGE SHOW ANNOUNCED

Posted on 28 September 2018

Hampstead Theatre announces a new version of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya by Terry Johnson.

Previews, Mondays and matinees 
Full price: £30/£27/£18
Under 30s/Students: £15/£10
Seniors (matinees only): £22/£20
Groups: For every 9 tickets get the 10th free
Access: £16

Tuesday – Saturday evenings 
Full price: £37/£32/£25
Under 30s/Students: £15/£10
Groups: For every 9 tickets get the 10th free
Access: £16

All prices are subject to change. Book early for the best price.

Video and Image Gallery

ALAN COX (VANYA), ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA), ALEC NEWMAN (ASTROV), KIKA MARKHAM (MARYIA) & DAVID SHAW-PARKER (TELYEGHIN) ALAN COX (VANYA), ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA), ALEC NEWMAN (ASTROV), KIKA MARKHAM (MARYIA) & DAVID SHAW-PARKER (TELYEGHIN)
ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) ABBEY LEE (YELIENA)
ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) & ALAN COX (VANYA) ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) & ALAN COX (VANYA)
ABBEY LEE ( YELIENA) & ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA) ABBEY LEE ( YELIENA) & ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA)
ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) & ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA) ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) & ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA)
ROBIN SOANS (SEREBRIAKOV), KIKA MARKHAM (MARYIA), ALAN COX (VANYA), DAVID SHAW-PARKER (TELYEGHIN) & ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) ROBIN SOANS (SEREBRIAKOV), KIKA MARKHAM (MARYIA), ALAN COX (VANYA), DAVID SHAW-PARKER (TELYEGHIN) & ABBEY LEE (YELIENA)
Alice Bailey Johnson (Sonia) and June Watson (Marina) Alice Bailey Johnson (Sonia) and June Watson (Marina)
Robin Soans (Serebriakov) Robin Soans (Serebriakov)
David Shaw-Parker (Telyeghin) David Shaw-Parker (Telyeghin)
David Shaw-Parker (Telyeghin) and June Watson (Marina) David Shaw-Parker (Telyeghin) and June Watson (Marina)
Abbey Lee (Yeliena) Abbey Lee (Yeliena)
Robin Soans (Serebriakov) and Terry Johnson (Adaptor/Director) Robin Soans (Serebriakov) and Terry Johnson (Adaptor/Director)
Alan Cox (Vanya) Alan Cox (Vanya)
Alec Newman (Astrov) and Abbey Lee (Yeliena) Alec Newman (Astrov) and Abbey Lee (Yeliena)
Alice Bailey Johnson (Sonia) Alice Bailey Johnson (Sonia)
Abbey Lee (Yeliena) and Alan Cox (Vanya) Abbey Lee (Yeliena) and Alan Cox (Vanya)
Kika Markham (Maryia) Kika Markham (Maryia)
Alice Bailey Johnson (Sonia), Abbey Lee (Yeliena) and June Watson (Marina) Alice Bailey Johnson (Sonia), Abbey Lee (Yeliena) and June Watson (Marina)
Abbey Lee (Yeliena) and Alan Cox (Vanya) Abbey Lee (Yeliena) and Alan Cox (Vanya)
Alan Cox (Vanya) Alan Cox (Vanya)
Alan Cox (Vanya) and Abbey Lee (Yeliena) Alan Cox (Vanya) and Abbey Lee (Yeliena)
Alec Newman (Astrov) Alec Newman (Astrov)
ALAN COX (VANYA) ALAN COX (VANYA)
ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) & ALEC NEWMAN (ASTROV) ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) & ALEC NEWMAN (ASTROV)
JUNE WATSON (MARINA) & ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA) JUNE WATSON (MARINA) & ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA)
DAVID SHAW PARKER (TELYEGHIN) & JUNE WATSON (MARINA) DAVID SHAW PARKER (TELYEGHIN) & JUNE WATSON (MARINA)
ALAN COX (VANYA) ALAN COX (VANYA)
ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) & ALEC NEWMAN (ASTROV) ABBEY LEE (YELIENA) & ALEC NEWMAN (ASTROV)
JUNE WATSON (MARINA), ALAN COX (VANYA) & KIKA MARKHAM (MARYIA) JUNE WATSON (MARINA), ALAN COX (VANYA) & KIKA MARKHAM (MARYIA)
ALAN COX (VANYA) & ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA) ALAN COX (VANYA) & ALICE BAILEY JOHNSON (SONIA)