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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About -

Ivanov Niko­lai Ivanov sits on a sofa look­ing des­o­late as the Lebe­devs’ party swirls around him. He’s head­ing to­wards 40, he has no money, he has given up on his mar­riage and he’s drawn to a girl half his age. Oh, and his wife is dy­ing and her doc­tor blames him for has­ten­ing things. Nat­u­rally this is a com­edy. As Ivanov (Ewen Les­lie) tells Sasha (Air­lie Dodds), the young woman who pas­sion­ately and naively wants to save him from him­self, “com­edy is tragedy sped up” and di­rec­tor and adap­tor Ea­mon Flack makes Chekhov’s first com­pleted full-length play very, very funny in­deed with­out los­ing the un­der­ly­ing pain. The top-flight cast in this punchy, provoca­tive pro­duc­tion in­cludes John Bell and John Howard, both in ma­jes­tic form. The show is a pal­pa­ble hit for Belvoir (and yes, the Ham­let ref­er­ence is rel­e­vant).

Deb­o­rah Jones Belvoir St Theatre, 25 Belvoir Street, Surry Hills. To­day, 2pm and 8pm. Tick­ets: $39-$72. Book­ings: (02) 9699 3444 or online. Un­til Novem­ber 1.

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