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Anton’s Uncles at Greenwich Theatre reinvents Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya
An exciting LA theatre company has crossed the pond to give us their uniquely joyous, musical take on Chekhov.
Anton’s Uncles - which carries a warning for unconventional drinking and dancing – is Theatre Movement Bazaar’s funny and physical reimagining of Chekhov’s rather melancholy Uncle Vanya.
And thanks to talent-spotting James Haddrell, artistic director of Greenwich Theatre, the dynamic Americans start their first UK tour right on our doorstep.
Greenwich Theatre has also become the producing partner for the entire tour.
Richard Alger, co-creator and producer of the show, told Vibe: “We took the show to Edinburgh Festival in summer last year and James saw us and proposed bringing it to his venue.
“Greenwich has taken on an enormous role – they’ve been a huge help to us because we’re so far away.
“They’ve been very instrumental in making this happen.”
Anton’s Uncles is a deconstruction of Chekhov’s ground-breaking play, featuring an all-male cast.
Richard added: “It’s Chekhov like you’ve never seen it before.
“All the women have gone - just the men remain from the original cast.
“There’s singing and dancing, we like to reinvigorate theatre for a contemporary audience.
“We call it an ultra-modern musical.
“But it’s very respectful and explores the original text.
“The original is quite sad and this can be pretty heavy and slow, but we’ve done it very differently.”
The award winning show’s physicality, song and humour have made it a festival favourite, connecting with audiences of all ages and nationalities.
“People who have never seen Chekhov have expressed great delight in seeing the show and are inspired to check out the writer.” Richard said.
“And those who know Chekhov well (from PhDs in deconstruction theory to actors performing the original) have been thrilled by the production’s wit and intelligence in exploring the famous play.”
The inventive company are no strangers to reinventing classics, having been developing shows in their own signature style for years.
Anton’s Uncles was created in 2009, and has since been performed all over the US.
Richard continued: “Chekhov is an inspirational starting point for us.
“His clearly-developed characters, his juggling of humour and pathos, his keen insight into human behaviour, his minimal approach to storytelling and his unique approach to plot provide a wealth of situations and encounters from which to draw parallels in our own lives.
“We’re extremely excited about coming to Greenwich and we’re looking forward to experiencing London’s sense of humour.
“We hope this will be the beginning of a relationship with the UK which means we can expand our audience and keep creating work.”
The show runs at Greenwich Theatre until Saturday, September 29.
For more information and bookings visit greenwichtheatre.org.uk
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