Uncle Vanya In The Woods
Unce Vanya In The Woods Large Photo by Greg Allen


Eve Best directs her new adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. John Hopkins stars as Uncle Vanya alongside Jethro Skinner as Astrov.

In the heat of summer, Sonya (Madeleine Hyland) and her Uncle Vanya (John Hopkins) while away their days on a crumbling estate deep in the countryside, visited occasionally by only the local doctor Astrov (Jethro Skinner).

However, when Sonya’s father Professor Serebryakov (Sam Cox) suddenly returns with his restless, alluring, new wife (Leila Crerar) declaring his intention to sell the house, the polite facades crumble and long-repressed feelings start to emerge with devastating consequences.

This stunning new adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s masterpiece, UNCLE VANYA, is a portrayal of life at the turn of the 20th century, full of tumultuous frustration, dark humour and hidden passions. Don’t miss this astonishing combination of creative talent as they breathe new life into the treasured Chekhov classic.


John Hopkins – Vanya
Jethro Skinner – Astrov
Leila Crerar – Yelena
Madeleine Hyland – Sonya
Maggie Steed – Mother
Sue Best – Grandmama
Davey Nellist – Waffles

Sam Cox – Professor Serebryakov

Eve Best – Director & Adaption

Orlando Seale – Music

Sophie Crawford – Accordion/Vocals

Coral Bevan – Percussion/Vocals
Andrew Gallop – Percussion
Patricia Ramiez Reinoso – Viola
Lucy Ridley – Dance


Photo by Greg Allen


It was a warm and sunny Sunday, in private woodland in Kent, in late September 2020. The global COVID-19 pandemic was starting to pick up its pace again across Great Britain and the Globe. With plenty of safety precautions in place, Uncle Vanya was set to kick off at around 15:00 and this would be one of my first gigs in over 6-months since being in lockdown and the industry’s crippling restrictions on live performances. It was nice just to be out of the city and amongst some nature and fresh air again.

We arrived at around 11:00 for some brief rehearsals (we’d never played together before and neither had the actors). We were then whisked into a brief ‘cues’ rehearsal, where I was given more and more parts in the play throughout the performance and was even given a small speaking role of ‘yes, me.’ I was to look at my bass drum whilst creating a heartbeat and not say it too loud or too quiet. And in fact, I was the only ‘actor’ that day given permission to speak quieter rather than louder. The pressure was on!

Orlando had written songs to fit in between scenes and moments of action in the script. One of the most memorable was a song simply titled buttcheeks. It was fast-paced and rumbustious polka played whilst Vanya and Astrov drunkenly fought.

Hopefully, we’ll get to do this again in the near future.

Photo by Sarah Weal Photography.
You can see more photos of the day by going to either:  Greg Allen’s Website or Sarah Weal Photography