A semi-update of Chekhov’s masterpiece, with modern interpretations of lines and the addition of American folk music, which sometimes works perfectly, such as when characters burst into a Bob Dylan song over too much vodka, and sometimes distract from the story itself. Director Zeljko Djukic seems to understand that the production will be subservient to the play, and it shows; the actors seem a bit intimidated by the script, and the tone switches wildly between Shakespearean and romantic-comedy. But even with its awkward moments, actors still carry themselves and the play admirably, with particularly strong performances from Trey Maclin and Andy Hager as the increasingly desperate Vanya and the alcoholic, visionary doctor respectively. In the end, it’s an achievement and a beautiful one, with a sublime set and gorgeous, if sometimes distracting, costumes, which, like the rest of the show, are lovely if not always helpful to the play itself. (Monica Westin)
At the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, (773)278-1500. This production is now closed.