Belgrade Theatre, Arcola Theatre and KP Productions

SONS WITHOUT FATHERS, a new version of Chekhov’s Platonov

Anton Chekhov

Directed by: Adapted and Directed by Helena Kaut-Howson

A Tale of Sex, Vodka and Shattered Dreams

Village school teacher Platonov is a man who is loved by women. Despite his best intentions he is drawn into a series of extra-marital affairs that all hold the promise of escape from the provincial Russian reality where he and his circle of friends are trapped. Consumed by bitterness and disappointment, they attempt to fill the void in their lives with sex and vodka, blaming their fathers for the mess they’ve been left in.

Funnier, more brutal and more wildly passionate than the Chekhov we’ve come to know, Sons Without Fathers shines a light on this band of disaffected thirty-somethings – too old to move with the times, and too young to let go of their dreams.

Sons Without Fathers is a brand new version of Chekhov’s rarely performed first play Platonov, from the same team that created the Belgrade and Arcola’s acclaimed co-production of Uncle Vanya in 2011.


Arcola Bar / Cafe – Free of Charge

Thursday 23 May, 6:30pm – 7:15pm

Ursula Wooley from Pushkin House will be ‘In conversation…’, focusing on the relationship between Russian and British culture as well as the role of Pushkin House is celebrating Russian Culture in the UK.

Thursday 30 May – 6:30pm – 7:15pm

Stanislavski on Stage

A discussion and presentation of photos from the Stanislavski archive, showcasing the inner workings of the Moscow Art Theatre.

Dr Paul Fryer, Associate Director of Research and Head of The Stanislavski Centre, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance (UK)

The Stanislavski Centre was founded at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in 2007. It is a unique organisation that combines research and scholarly activities with a facility to host lectures, seminars, workshops and performances which explore aspects of Stanislavski’s life, work and legacy. The Centre has an archive of material which includes a collection of more than 200 photographs of Moscow Art Theatre productions between 1899 and 1921, representing Stanislavski’s work as actor, director and producer. In this talk, Paul Fryer, Director of the Centre, will use some of the photographs to illustrate different aspects of Stanislavski’s work and explore why his legacy is still so important in the theatre of today.

[Click here for to view and download the leaflet for this production](

Thanks to Belgrade Theatre for producing the videos.

Production photos by Simon Annand


“Electrifying” – The Independent ★★★★★

“The performances are nothing short of captivating. Not to be missed.” – Whatsonstage ★★★★★

“Jack Laskey’s brilliant performance…is surrounded by a tip-top cast. This is an extraordinary production.” – The Guardian ★★★★

“Strong on mood…an emotional joy” – London Metro ★★★★

“Another week, another extraordinary Chekhov revival…This is super stuff, by turns forlorn and hilarious.” – Time Out ★★★★

“The most daring adaptation of Chekhov you’re likely to see – beautifully instinctive and raw spectacle. It sings with truth” – Londonist

Sons Without Fathers hits you like a steam train with no warning light. A hypnotic flurry of theatrical lust and activity, this is Chekhov on hyper-rebellious mode. Miss it at your peril – can’t say I didn’t warn you.” -One Stop Arts ★★★★★

“Intense and electrifying” – Coventry Telegraph ★★★★

“A Chekhovian rollercoaster…like a pressure cooker out of control.” – The Stage

“The cast is in every aspect magnificent… The script is set in modern Russia, but it could be Britain and feels like it should have come from the pen of one of the new generation of blood-and-guts playwrights (Polly Stenham et al).” – The Telegraph ★★★★

“Expect visceral performances, black comedy, intelligence, sex and – of course – vodka” – Hackney Citizen

“A powerful piece that lives in the memory. Well worth catching.” – The Public Reviews ★★★★

You know those football matches where, from that very first touch of the ball at kick-off, you can tell this is going to be a good one – and then it really is? That fluttering incredulity, all the way through – “They can’t keep this up!” Sure enough, they fluff it; your stomach tightens – “It was too good to last.” Then the broken stride mends, the sides are back on flow, your heart’s beating fast and you just want it to keep on going. Well that’s how I felt watching Helena Kaut-Howson’s direction of her own, updated translation of Anton Chekhov’s early play, Platonov. Only decades of learned behaviour stopped me leaping up, punching the air and yelling “Yowza!” at some aspect of the acting, the lighting, the sound, music, design – the whole damn thing. If it had been football, there’d be enough space to give you a blow-by-blow breakdown. But it wasn’t so there isn’t. Just go. See what you think.’ – Observer

Monday – Saturday evenings at 7:30pm – £18 (£14 concessions)

Saturday matinees at 2:30pm (18, 25 May; 1, 8, 15 June) – £16 (£12 concessions)

Opening performances (8 – 13 May) – all tickets £14

Valid for use with Arcola Passport

Running Time: 190 minutes including an interval