Onegin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Few things are more enthralling than unrequited love, as demonstrated by this drama based on Aleksandr Pushkin's verse novel Eugene Onegin. Shifting deftly between the points of view of two lovers with terrifically bad timing (Ralph Fiennes and Liv Tyler), director Martha Fiennes creates sympathy for both--victims of circumstance who also willfully compound their unhappiness. The plot is minimal and the storytelling majestic as the setting moves from 1820s Saint Petersburg to the countryside and back, displaying opulent, decadent interiors, dense endless forests, bleak horizons. Iconoclasts in different ways, the principals manage to reject some traditions only to be bound by others in a place and time whose customs are arguably no more oppressive than ours. Michael Ignatieff and Peter Ettedgui wrote the screenplay; with Toby Stephens. Landmark's Century Centre.

--Lisa Alspector

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