Uncle Vanya at HOME Manchester, Manchester, 3–25 November 2017, from £10
It might be called HOME but Manchester’s newest arts hub has had a distinctly foreign feel since it opened in 2015. Under the leadership of German theatre maker Walter Meierjohann we’ve had a Serbian-inspired Romeo & Juliet, a mini-season of Berlin-born productions and, most recently, a new play from Palestinian writer Ahmed Masoud.
The latest edition to this cosmopolitan catalogue is Chekhov’s classic Uncle Vanya. It’s a tale of un-earned privilege, of the poor sacrificing themselves so the rich might live in luxury (in other words, pretty contemporary problems). Uncle Vanya and his sister Sonya have managed the rural estate of a wealthy, ungrateful, professor for many years, but when the professor decides he is going to sell up their once-certain future becomes tainted with doubt. Worse still, Vanya finds he is falling for the professor’s new wife. However, she is not interested in him and instead is attracted to the local doctor. The tension builds and builds, until Vanya finally snaps.
Directed by Meierjohann, this new adaptation from Andrew Upton explores both the comedy and tragedy of one of Chekhov’s most famous plays. It’s also another example of how HOME has expanded Manchester’s theatrical horizons, providing a truly international offer.