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Uncle Vanya

Life on the whole is dull, dumb, dirty… Sucks you down, this life. Surrounded by kranks. Everywhere, kranks. You live with them two or three years and before you know it you’ve become a krank yourself. This is fate.” (Astrov. Act I)

An ageing irritable professor returns to his deceased wife’s country estate with his beautiful young wife, Yelena. The estate has been managed for years by the Professor’s daughter, Sonya, and his brother-in-law Uncle Vanya. It is their self-sacrifice and toil which has maintained his extravagant lifestyle in the city. When the politically impassioned local Doctor Astrov is called to the house and meets Yelena, tensions spiral rapidly into a desperate comedy about unrequited love.

Chekhov’s characters exist on the brink of a new era; a new order is approaching. One they fear. Written 20 years before the Russian Revolution, what does this much loved play tell us about the world we live in today?

Taking Russia’s past as inspiration in this historic year Walter Meierjohann’s production explores the acutely tragic and deeply comic spirit or Chekhov’s late masterpiece with a bold visual design and live music.

Starring a host of well-known theatre and TV names including HOME associate artist Katie West (Hamlet, Royal Exchange), Nick Holder (Fatherland, Royal Exchange; Some Girls, BBC), Jason Merrells (Safe House, ITV; Emmerdale, ITV; Waterloo Road, BBC) and veteran Manchester actor David Fleeshman.

★★★★★ “You dream of this kind of night at the theatre… Katie West’s stunning performance as Sonya that left me breathless with admiration… Staged and directed with great subtlety… [A] must-see.” Northern Soul

★★★★ “Katie West’s Sonya, Jason Merrells’s Doctor Astrov [are] both understatedly magnificent… The play’s achievement – and this production’s triumph – is to invest all this hopelessness with hope, too. Life will and must go on. So should this production; let’s hope it has a longer life elsewhere. Chekhov’s masterpiece is spellbindingly acted in a brilliant new version of the play.” – The Stage

★★★★★ “Walter Meierjohann has brought this deeply layered and finely nuanced production to complete fruition… Truly absorbing… A stunning theatrical feast.” – Upstaged Manchester

★★★★ “[Walter] Meierjohann’s nuanced production is beautifully staged and carefully considered… Performances are exceptional across the board, though standouts are Nick Holder as the tragi-comic Vanya, David Fleeshman as Serebrayakov, Katie West as a naive and timid Sonya and Jason Merrells as the prescient and environmentally conscious Astrov.” – The Arts Shelf

★★★★ “In the hands of director Walter Meierjohann, Uncle Vanya, full of simmering passion and exquisite, evocative dialogue, feels so modern, so fresh… Live theatre doesn’t get any better than this and the music adds to the atmosphere. A production not to be missed.” – Stagestruck

★★★★★ “Director Walter Meierjohann understands his Chekhov and skilfully steers the characters through the paralysing morass of rural Russia on the cusp of change at the turn of the last century… His clear vision, coupled with a wonderful ensemble cast, results in an excellent production… Chekhov may not be your thing but this beautiful production could change your mind.” – Morning Star

★★★★ “It’s a stellar cast all round… None of the tension, the anger, the passion, is forced… It really does feel like we’re flies on the wall in this country house.” – Broadway World

“A thing of sparse beauty… The pace of the play is beautifully measured, allowing us to consider every word spoken by each character, giving the production space to breathe despite the close atmosphere of the play.” –  Quiet Man Dave

“A strong opener to HOME’s new season… The tension builds all the way through the first act… The production itself is very beautiful… Worth going to see if you, like Vanya, are ready for change and revolution.” – North West End

“What’s so wonderful about [Walter] Meierjohann’s production is its thoroughness and delicacy… This is a startling Uncle Vanya, full of life and richly atmospheric… Walter Meierjohann’s direction is inspired and meticulous… It’s undoubtedly his finest work to date at HOME.” – Circles & Stalls

“Exquisite… A truly stunning production, and I recommend it without reservation.” – Canal Street

“Features fine performances all round… The final scene between Astrov and Yelena is absolutely compelling and emotionally taut – the tension in the audience was palpable… A finely detailed staging of a play we don’t often see around here and is definitely worth seeing.” – British Theatre Guide

“Gripping… No stone is left unturned to make this the best production it could be… A must see.” – Mancunian Matters

“The acting performances by the leading players are exemplary… Home Theatre’s stage #1 may not be the biggest performance platform out there but Uncle Vanya feels like a big production… An exciting piece of work.” – The Greater Manchester Reviewer

“The highlight of the show is the performance of Katie West as Sonya. She underplays her part to perfection… A thought-provoking, challenging piece… The play still has something to say today and will still be relevant 100 years from now., ” – The Reviews Hub

“Nick Holder, as Vanya, was outstanding: he has got the man… Jason Merrells, much the most ‘modern’ man in the story as Dr Astrov, is right on the case, too… David Fleeshman (Serebrayakov) has a big challenge – and turns him into a bit of a caricature, but a highly entertaining one.” – Manchester Theatre Awards

“The acting is a treat… I suspect even Chekhov himself would be chuckling along with this production.” – The Northern Quota

“The cast give such powerful performances that you warm to the brooding characters with ease despite being given but a snapshot of their daily lives.” – Within My Locket

“There are outstanding performances throughout this production… I cannot pick a fault in [Walter] Meierjohann’s carefully calculated and nuanced production… It makes Chekhov’s late masterpiece feel so fresh and relevant to modern society… A beautifully measured adaption.” – The State of the Arts

“Katie West’s naïve Sonya is heart-breaking and endearing in her innocence… Conversely, Nick Holder is compellingly tragic and comic in almost equal measures as Vanya.” – The Manchester Review

“This drama about people who are bored is far from boring to watch.” – Weekend Notes

“On the whole this is a very impressive production.” – Jildy Sauce

“The uncertainties and frailties of human emotion are all on display and are beautifully depicted in this adaptation… The invitation in this production is Seize the Day for each day is a once in a lifetime opportunity.” – Live Art Alive

“Nick Holder plays Vanya brilliantly… Accessible and ultimately a joy to watch.” – Manchester’s Finest

Uncle Vanya on Twitter

@QuietManDave
Uncle Vanya @HOME_mcr is a completely absorbing, beautifully paced and reflective production, the sort of play that leaves a huge impression. Easily one of the best productions in Manchester this year.

@BenedictPower
Really enjoyed #UncleVanya @HOME_mcr tonight. A great adaptation,such a strong cast and a wonderfully simple and charming production. So many moments of genuine tenderness, passion and despair – and funny too. Well done @WalterMeierjo and team.

@RedFoxglove
Never really understood Chekhov, but #UncleVanya at #Home, is a wry, witty, look at despair, & a wonderfully engaging production.

@CelticPoppy
#UncleVanya @HOME_mcr is just wonderful. Captures the essence of the play perfectly. Great performances all round and beautifully directed. A definite #GoSee!!!

@katieliana
#UncleVanya presented by @HOME_mcr put all my Chekhov and theatre studies curriculum woes aside and wowed.


#UncleVanya ‘This production is very beautiful… The sound and music are stunning additions to the adaptation.’
  #UncleVanya last night @HOME_mcr – we laughed, we cried, we watched grown men dancing with their trousers round their ankles.

Listen to audience reactions for Uncle Vanya below:

 

Information for Schools and Colleges:

Recommended for GCSE, AS and A2 and equivalent levels Drama and Theatre Studies.

As part of this production HOME are delighted to offer A level students and first year drama undergraduates the opportunity to have Assistant Director Emily Louizou deliver a workshop at their institute. Students will delve into the further into the world of Chekhov by unpacking the text and learn some of the process of creating a contemporary version of a classical play.  Students will also get to experience a sample of rehearsal exercises and techniques the actors used to bring Uncle Vanya to life.

Workshops are  recommended for AS, A2 and undergraduate levels Drama and Theatre Studies and are restricted to venues based in Greater Manchester. Workshops are £100 per half day/£200 per full day.

Please email schools@homemcr.org for further information.