Uncle Vanya in Red Monkey's New Theater Space

Red Monkey Theater Group began its new residency at the Cahill Theater of the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, New York, with a powerful production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.  Adapted and directed by Carolyn Fuchs, who previously had adapted The Brothers Karamazov, the show was an inspired choice to kick-off the company's new season that will include William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (directed by Tal Aviezer) and Neil LaBute's Reasons to Be Pretty (directed by Holland Renton).

The Red Monkey team did an outstanding job of converting this former lounge space into an impressive theater-in-the-round with a brand new stage, theatrical lighting, and a good sound system. If the set for Uncle Vanya, designed by Ms. Fuchs, is an indication of the level of artistic excellence to come from future productions, we're in for a treat.

What made this inaugural production such a delight was the perfect cast -- David Wetter was terrific as Aleksandr, the retired professor at whose country estate the play takes place; the captivating Rebekah Madebach as his young wife Yelena was a joy to watch from beginning to end; Alice Rothman-Hicks brought a genuine sensitivity to the part of the youthful Sonya; Denny Desmarais was excellent as the doctor Mikhail; and Derek Tarson was equal parts funny, heartwarming, explosive, and gutwrenching as Vanya. The remainder of the cast all had their moments to shine and delivered on all counts -- Nancy Rich as Maman, Osnat Laske Greenbaum as the nanny Marina, and Brad Crownover as the delightful Waffles.

I hope the Red Monkey troupe have a long stay in their new home.  It seems to be the perfect fit for them.  The performance I attended was almost sold-out, so I hope that continues and many more people discover this excellent theater group and their unique, high-quality brand of live entertainment.

For more information, visit http://www.redmonkeytheater.org