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Career > > 1992 > Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya

August 19, 1992 - September 26, 1992 | The Sydney Theatre Company
Directed by: Neil Armfield | Written by: Oleg Bichenkov Neil Armfield (translation), May-Brit Akerholt (dramaturgy) | Literature: Anton Chekhov | Costume Design: Jennie Tate | Production Design: Brian Thomson
Sonya (Toni Collette) and her Uncle Vanya (Peter Carroll) while away their time on an isolated estate, visited occasionally only by the local doctor Astrov (Geoffrey Rush). However, when Sonya’s father Professor Serebryakov suddenly returns with his restless, alluring, new wife Yelena (Helen Buday), polite facades crumble and long repressed feelings start to emerge. As the conflicted family are forced to confront their despair, loneliness and each other, can the beauty of life help them find new hope?
Cast: Geoffrey Rush (Astrov), Toni Collette (Sonya), Helen Buday (Yelena), Peter Carroll (Vanya), Max Cullen (Waffle), Melissa Jaffer, Warren Mitchell (Alexander), Colin Moody, Barbara Henry (Marina)

Production Notes

When talking about the production during an interview with Vogue Magazine in 1998, Toni Collette said: “I asked Neil Armfield why he wanted me and he said, ‘because of your teeth’, which I found really funny.”.


The Sydney Morning Herald, Bob Evans (August 21, 1992)
Armfield’s production is a mixture of much that is very good and a little that is truly great, including Jenny Tate’s costumes which, in both their simplicity and complexity, contribute to and comment on the characters. Geoffrey Rush is wonderful as Astrov, glowing from a flushed vodka haze into a passion that threatens to burn through his pragmatic veneer. So is Toni Collette, investing plain Sonya with a bounce and an earthiness that transmutes through gried into resolution and compassion, and Max Mullen as Waffle, getting gentle laughs through a self-effacing, rustic dignity.

The Sydney Morning Herald, Ken Healy (August 22, 1992)
The play, like all Chekhov, is intensely moral. But it treats serious subjects like idleness versus the work ethic, natural justice, probity, with such acute irony that laughter flows. In this production there is more overt expression of conflict than one normally encounters in Chekhov. Toni Collette’s Sonia, hopeslessly in love with Astrov, is a strong farm manager, physically almost peasant-like in contrast to the child-bride Yelyena.

Awards & Nominations

  Sydney Critics Circle Award – Best Newcomer

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