A Country Life David Mamet updated and rewrote Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya a decade ago. So did British theater great Brian Friel and others. But now Terry Martin, producing artistic director at Addison's WaterTower Theatre, tries his hand at it, and by golly, he's come up with a fine adaptation, shifting the action to rural Alabama 1922. R Bruce Elliott plays the lonely "Uncle Johnny," a 47-year-old bachelor living in a creaky farmhouse with his mother, his niece and a couple of servants. The country doctor, handsome Michael Adams (Mark Nutter), drops by often for a chat and a chew. Then come the interlopers, Professor Scott (Jerry Haynes) and his decades-younger new wife, Helen (Lydia Mackay), trying to lay claim to the homestead. Arguments erupt. Johnny and the good doctor both fall for Helen. It's a lovely production (also directed by Martin) unfolding on Randel Wright's hay-strewn set in a living room that suggests Old World charm reduced nearly to ruins. From Chekhov's four acts to a leisurely two (thank you, Mr. Martin), the nicely acted dramedy now comes to an end well before you feel like crying uncle. Through February 13 at WaterTower Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison. 972-450-6232. Reviewed January 27. (Elaine Liner)
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