DRAMA20210322It's the 1920s. A chance encounter in a down-at-heel Moscow café. Perhaps we recognise this couple. No matter if we don't. As they fall into conversation, the contours of their lives are gradually revealed.

Sonya looks after a large estate once managed by her late uncle. She's visiting Moscow for financial meetings. Andrey is the brother of three provincial sisters who never quite made it to Moscow. He tells her he's here to rehearse La Bohème at the Opera House. He's a violinist.

But there may be lies lurking, as well as truths. Sonya, more direct, confides she's still hopelessly in love with the local doctor, as she has been for years.

The pair are suspended in a bubble of desperation, obsession, fantasy - appropriately Chekhovian. They consider the peculiarity of living life ‘in a waiting room'. Is there hope?

A riveting two-hander by Brian Friel. It's a play about anyone who may have had dreams, family lives that went awry, failures, even successes. An intense thriller too - a set of Russian dolls where these two characters aren't being wholly honest with each other.

Andrey…Alex Jennings
Sonya… Janie Dee

Director: Martin Jarvis
Producer: Rosalind Ayres

A Jarvis & Ayres production for BBC Radio 4

Martin Jarvis directs Brian Friel's masterpiece. Starring Alex Jennings and Janie Dee.

Drama from BBC Radio 4