But slowed by interminable scene changes and a lack of directorial inspiration, it isn’t destined to be one of the more memorable versions of this often performed play.

It’s a pity as there are a couple of really strong performances fighting against this mundane interpretation of Christopher Hampton’s perfectly acceptable translation.

There’s Samuel West as the vodka-swilling Doctor, a passionate environmentalist who falls under the spell of the Professor’s captivating and much younger wife, Yelena, a purposeless beauty whom Anna Friel invests with humanity and frustrated regret.

And the always watchable Ken Stott’s rumpled, hopeless Vanya adds bleak comedy to the tragedy of his wasted life and hopeless infatuation.

But overall this is a production constructed by numbers, its poignancy diminished further by a shrill Sonya whose unrequited love for Astrov fails to move.

Vaudeville, Strand WC2R 0NH
Tube | Charing Cross
Until 16 February
£25 – £53.50


Image: Nobby Clark