In one of the many glowing reviews for this new production of Chekhov, Susannah Clapp opened her review for The Observer by noting the impact of Bill Dudley‘s design: ‘Lucy Bailey’s lovely Uncle Vanya is played in the round and with a twist; the oatmeal and fawn design by William Dudley hangs family portraits at the back of the audience so that the spectators are seated within the set, locked in with the actors, encircled by the sound of chimes and horses’ hooves and tremendous thunder.’ Dudley’s design was also mentioned in both The Stage and a particularly enthusiastic review for What’s on the Fringe: ‘William Dudley’s design is beautiful. The transitions between scene changes were masterful and engaging.
Other four and five star reviews included:
‘Comical and exhilarating, this is Chekhov at his masterful best’ ***** The Times
‘A witty translation, an evocative, claustrophobic setting, performances that hum with trapped energy – this is great Chekhov ‘ **** The Financial Times
‘Lucy Bailey’s production of Uncle Vanya is the funniest and most vehemently volatile in mood of any account that I have seen of this great play’ **** The Independent
The Arts Desk elaborates on the effect of the setting and scene changes: ‘William Dudley’s set places us in the all-purpose interior of the family farm, the anarchic clusters of chairs, tables and sofas mirrored in the disparate characters who must inhabit this shared space. Set-changes are scored to a clamour of bells, horses-hooves on cobbles, shouting, while carefully choreographed furniture-removal becomes a dance. Yet such demonstrative shifts only serve to stress the stasis of the play; noise and rush there may be but it remains elsewhere, beyond the four walls that still enclose us each time the lights come up on a new scene.’
In the light of its warm reception, The Print Room hope to bring the performance back in the autumn.