The acting is superb. But for this old Chekhovian it is no longer Uncle Vanya. My problem is that I was brought up on the Chekhov of restraint, understatement, ambiguity, and what the adaptor, Andrew Upton, dismisses as ‘generalised melancholia’. There is none of that in the current Sydney Theatre Company production. Here they hit you over the head with an axe handle and want you to guffaw. You don’t mind Vanya (Richard Roxburgh) yelling ‘Shit!’ instead of the usual genteel ‘Hell!’, when he tries to shoot Serebryakov (John Bell) and misses. But we have stumbled into vaudeville when Yelena (Kate Blanchett) charges passionately across the stage at Astrov (Hugo Weaving), assaults and bestraddles him, all the while crying ‘You only live once!’ Even Hayley McElhinney as Sonya mars a fine performance by occasionally indulging in Strine. The Hungarians have much to answer for. The director, dramaturg, costume designer and set designer all come to us from Budapest. The audience loved it.