The celebrated minimalists of Bedlam present a new mash-up of Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" and Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet."
"Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet" pairs William Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy of two star-crossed lovers with Anton Chekhov’s legendary play about a celebrated professor and his new wife’s return to their family estate. With a new adaptation of "Uncle Vanya" by Kimberly Pau, interspersed with the Shakespearean verse of "Romeo & Juliet," "Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet" will use 5 actors to weave together both stories, exploring how hidden passions can explode with the perspective of time.
"Mr. Tucker’s 'Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet,' like even the most avant-garde of his shows, is both unpretentious and enormous fun...What Szadkowski does here is flat-out astonishing...Anyone who still questions the expressive potential of nontraditional casting should rush to see her. Everything about this show is a delight, but I bet it’s Ms. Szadkowski whom you’ll remember longest." Full Review
“’Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet’ begins casually and ends by breaking your heart...A riff on two plays at once, Shakespeare’s youthful romantic tragedy and Chekhov’s mature and moody comedy...The brilliance of Tucker and his company is to hold up a Shakespearean mirror to Chekhov in order to unleash his oft-hidden weirdness, wildness, and yearning. In these actors’ hands...certain scenes from ‘Uncle Vanya’ played more powerfully than I’ve seen in a long time.” Full Review
“Five doubling actors make their transitions with surprising ease and ingenuity. More importantly and to our delight, no character in either play is given short shrift...The ensemble does it all...We only have to sit back and marvel at how effortlessly we are being drawn into the co-existing dramas...This is neither a parody nor a patronizing view of these two great plays but rather invests a bit of wit and whimsy into each and into each an equal measure of pain and sorrow." Full Review
"In 'Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet,' Tucker has tried something new: a mashup of both Chekhov's 'Uncle Vanya' and Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet,' with scenes from the two alternating. The result is not confusing, but irritating and irrelevant, with neither play gaining from the combination. The advertisement for this show reads '5 actors, 2 plays, 1 performance,' but to what point?" Full Review
"Chekhov takes up much of 'Uncle Romeo,' which is a blessing because as staged here, the parts from his play flow better than the ones from Shakespeare’s tragedy...Some of the juxtapositions have a humorous impact...Larger, structural changes are not entirely convincing...It’s relatively easy to follow the intertwined narrative strands — though it helps considerably to be familiar with both plays — but it’s hard not to wonder what the point is." Full Review
"For the first two thirds of 'Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet,' directed by Eric Tucker, audiences can expect a fairly straightforward interpretation of Chekhov’s masterwork...The 'Romeo and Juliet' tangents offer little in the way of emotional or intellectual illumination...If the amalgamation does not effectively serve Chekhov’s and Shakespeare’s works, the five-member ensemble tears into the material." Full Review
“Melding ‘Uncle Vanya’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ together requires taking the essence of the two pieces and superimposing them upon each other like interlocking puzzles. The ‘Vanya’ component, more or less, works within this structure. But ‘Romeo’ is almost absent in the process...Some ideas inevitably do not quite work out. There is no doubt, though, that Bedlam and Mr. Tucker will quickly rebound.” Full Review
"Pau’s adaptation of ‘Vanya’ is morose and tedious. The company fares much better with the zany ‘R&J’ portion...'Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet' was just too ambitious and it doesn’t work. With a show paced at over two and half hours, the audience needs to grasp the whys, here it just seemed like an experiment not quite completed. This original, creative, text-defying theatre company lost their way on this production." Full Review
"A crash-up of Chekhov and Shakespeare with an emphasis on the former: It's a vodka martini with the Bard as the vermouth. Unfortunately, this dramatic cocktail does little to bring out the shows' shared themes of passion, obsession and betrayal...Bedlam's M.O. is to crack open classic texts and discover something unexpected and resonant inside them. But beneath a few nifty performances, there's nothing at the center this time." Full Review
"Whatever similarities Tucker saw in both these dramas, though, he has failed to communicate them in the mess of a production that has resulted...Even when the transitions from one play to another are smoothly done, Tucker's production never makes a convincing case for why these two works should be presented this way at all...God bless Bedlam for continuing to take risks with the theatrical canon, but this latest provocation is a misbegotten misstep." Full Review
"There is a lot to admire in the ambition, and there are glimpses of how the production could have been successful, but it never coheres, and we are left with no greater insight into either masterpiece...Some ambiguity in the conceit could have been effective, allowing audience members to debate and discuss afterward, but as is, it just descends into incoherence." Full Review
“’URVJ’ can only be described as puzzling. And simply not up to Bedlam’s standards...The play’s biggest shortfall is that it simply doesn’t come off as anything more than avant-garde posturing. As a standalone play...it makes little sense...None of the intersections of the two plays do, quite frankly. And it serves to dampen both the original pieces. Rather, it feels like pompous, intellectual meddling by a company that’s bored with traditional theater and the odious project they’ve undertaken.” Full Review
"It's really more of 'Uncle Vanya' with a few scenes of 'Romeo and Juliet' thrown in, so the whole experiment feels almost like an afterthought, and the transitions between the two are sometimes awkward and confusing...It doesn't help matters that this production opens so soon after Richard Nelson's 'Uncle Vanya,' in which Jay O. Saunders gave the definitive performance of the title character...Maybe they are enjoying themselves, but they should ask themselves why the audience should care." Full Review
See it if You love to see Chekhov challenged and deepened by Shakespeare. If you love Bedlam’s work.
Don't see it if You hate both Chekhov and Shakespeare, or if you like them simple and straightforward (and separate). If you want slmething big and splashy
See it if you love Chekhov, Shakespeare and Bedlam and great acting and you are not afraid of innovation. If you love these classics, this is a must
Don't see it if you are looking for tradition or a lazy evening in the theater
See it if you love the classics, especially redone; you are familiar with one or both source texts; you like to think deeply at the theatre
Don't see it if you primarily want a fun night out, you don't have a background in theatre, you don't know either play well or at all
See it if You are fascinated by the parallels between these 2 classic plays and want to experience some top notch classical acting.
Don't see it if You are unfamiliar with these 2 plays or don't have a lot of patience to make the links.
See it if you like Bedlam's treatment of plays in the canon. I found this one a challenge: why they interwove these two plays is not obvious.
Don't see it if You like to see theater that is straight forward and doesn't present a problem interpreting.
See it if you know and appreciate Vanya and R&J; can be confusing otherwise. It has some high moments and others where it drags. Could be shorter.
Don't see it if you don't know the underlying works. This production juxtaposes scenes from each. Often chaotic.
See it if If you're a fan of innovation, have a sense of humor and like to laugh out loud at people's peculiar antics, at least in the first act
Don't see it if If you don't like a mixture of Chekov and Shakespeare this is not for you.
See it if you like experimental theater. If you like the play Uncle Vanya. The characters turn into R & J characters in interesting ways sometimes.
Don't see it if you want to see something light and fluffy. I love the risks Bedlam takes but the R & J death/crying scene felt unearned and LONG.
See it if you like intellectually rigorous experiments w/ Chekhov. Tests your patience but the cast does great work—esp Millonzi as Sonya.
Don't see it if you want R&J to function as little more than an occasional symbol of poetic idealism used to magnify UV’s prosaic cynicism.
See it if You are interested in the new perspectives that come from comparing and contrasting great works of romantic tragedy.
Don't see it if You are not already familiar with either play - especially Romeo & Juliet, as the interspersed scenes are tangential to primary plot line.
See it if you are intrigued in an interesting adaptation of uncle vanya, you like bedlam's work, you really like prose and heightened language
Don't see it if you want a clear interpretation of both pieces, you don't care for a strong vision like bedlam usually presents
See it if You're familiar with the source texts, love Chekhov/Shakespeare, are interested in works that re-imagine the classics.
Don't see it if You hate everything about Chekhov/Shakespeare, and you're unable to sit through a 2.5 hour play.
See it if This mash-up of Chekov and Shakespeare is complicated and messy but still fascinating. Definitely recommend rereading both plots synopsis
Don't see it if be prepared to journey back and forth between stories and language. Solid acting and amazing use of music and dancing but long. Very long.
See it if A funny, fast moving mash up of two classsics. Somewhat confusing but never boring. The acting was fantastic!
Don't see it if If you don’t already know both plays fairly well it might be hard to follow.
See it if Imagine 2 classics in repertory, but at the same time. Forget Why?, incongruous themes force complete attention. Sonya utters Juliet lines.
Don't see it if Familiarity with both plays is essential or 2.5 hrs. will drag. Bland performances and wardrobe. Like the zombification of the classics.
See it if An often brilliant production of Uncle Vany often rudely interrupted by Juliet from R&J. Some gorgeous visuals on almost bare stage.
Don't see it if Not for people who love the classics as written. High levels of pretension that rarely help the story or the production.
See it if you love the text of R&J and Uncle Vanya because there are some really clever moments in this, you like experimental, absurdist theatre
Don't see it if you are looking for something traditional, IT'S LONNNNGGG, not into meshing two plays that don't really go together, not a fan of classics
See it if you like great acting in an intimate setting or are a big fan of Uncle Vanya or Romeo and Juliet.
Don't see it if you're not a fan of the classics or non-linear story telling.
See it if you're fan of experimentation, always needed 2 C a Vanya /R&J mash-up, like rest of Bedlams work, recognize actors trying 2 overcome script
Don't see it if don't want 2 give 2 1/2 hours to experimentation, want actors 2 succeed in presenting abstracts, need a reason, want some sort of continuum
Get alerts about your favorite artists and theater companies