25/4/12, The Print Room
A new venue, tiny, with no proper front of house and precious little backstage, judging by the fact that one of the actors was washing his make-up off in the gents when we left. We sat, maybe 80 or 90 of us, in two rows around all four sides of a room with an entrance at each corner plus the door in the centre of one wall through which we entered.
So, real close-up stuff, even closer than Moon on a Rainbow Shawl the other day, and some carried it off better than others. Ian Glen as Vanya was of course superb, but William Houston as the doctor played as if in a conventional theatre: it was a good performance, but too big for a space this intimate. Charlotte Emmerson as Sonia was genuinely touching, though I missed the shivers during her final speech (the shivers came earlier, I distinctly recall... but I can't remember what sparked them!). Lucinda Millward "made the wife a bore" I wrote a day or two after seeing the show I can't now remember what I meant by that: whether it was her performance that was boring (not sure it was) or the characterisation.
David Yelland as the professor also went way over the top, though in his case it may have been legitimate since the old fraud has spent his life as the central character in a life of his own making, performing in front of students and colleagues. It does make his appeal to Yelena as a husband even more baffling, however.
The production found the humour in much of this, as well as the authentic despair: Vanya really did seem at the end of his tether, not just posturing with that gun. And of course when he does go over the edge it's even more thrilling in such a tiny space.