For years, Vanya and his niece Sonya have laboured on their family’s country estate in relative harmony. But when Sonya’s father returns from the big city with a glamorous new bride, unfulfilled desires and fierce family loyalties collide to destroy the status quo.

This bittersweet exploration of love, hope and longing is heart-breakingly human, achingly poignant and laced with irony.

Annie Baker’s revitalization of this theatrical classic brings the play into the 21st century while retaining the timelessness of Chekhov’s wit, insight and emotional depth.

Usually the Court Theatre will copy reviews onto it’s web page. This show didn’t have any and the one I found at was only luke warm. I hadn’t heard of this Chekhov play, and it’s not surprising. It was originally set in Russia around 1889 (pre-revolution) but the new production uses music from the 1970’s. So it’s confusing are to when it’s supposed to occur. The story is rather inconsequential and like a soap opera. Family members meet, fallout, resolve and leave.

The most notable thing was some of the actors.  Esther Stephens was in ‘That Bloody Woman’ and plays Ngaire Monroe on Westside.  Sophie Hambleton (who I thought looked familiar) plays Carol O’Driscol on Westside. This TV3 production has a third season and will broadcast sometime this year, so something positive was learned from the night.