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The current production of Chekov's "Uncle Vanya" now playing at the Wilbur is beyond all doubt a superlative exhibition of theatrical art. There is absolutely no single point which could be impeached. The acting, the directing and the settings were all outstanding in their excellence. But anything that can be said in praise of this production can be little more than a repetition of the highly enthusiastic remarks of those who first saw it in New York.
As for the play itself, it is one of the finest of a large group of Russian comedys. Naturally, it is not the sort of play that one usually associates with the slightly distorted comedy as it is presented on the American stage. The situation is not humorous nor does the conclusion leave one with a glow of satisfaction because the heroine finally got the heir. This is rather the sort of comedy that is associated with the unfortunate Malvolio, a play of incongruities. Practically every character is caught in a problem that is impossible for him to solve, and it is in the living creation of these distinct and different beings that the present cast carries out so effectively and exquisitely.
To single out Miss Gish or Mr. Perkins simply because of their outstanding position would be almost unfair even though their efforts are unusually effective. Every member of the cast interprets his part with the highest amount of understanding and subtility. As a result, one is not so conscious of looking at a play, as of being present at the actual situation. Of course, much of this effect is owing to the Director, but it is mainly a matter of the intelligence of the actors themselves.
The cast is practically the same as that which presented the play in New York with the exception of Zita Johan who is a most excellent Sonia. They bring to Boston an opportunity to see something that is really worth seeing, and even then it is quite probable that the audiences will be none too large, all of which will go to add to a none to happy theatrical reputation. But that can not detract from a production that is in all probability one of the finest that will be seen here for many, many moons.
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