013 Adaptation – Old
An adaptation of a Russian play by Ivan Goncharov, Oblomovsky starred Toby Jones. Oblomovsky is a young man who doesn’t want to do anything today that he can put off til tomorrow, and starting to do anything just depresses him or is too difficult and he gives up. His happiest memories are of childhood at his family’s country estate, Oblomovska. He would love to go back there but hasn’t been in 12 years, doesn’t know how much income it provides him with, and wouldn’t know the first thing about serf reform. An opportunistic friend, Terenchev, keeps coming to him with schemes; Clive Swift makes a cameo as a doctor who tells Oblomovsky that he can’t carry on drinking and eating rich food, that he must moderately exercise and not do any thinking, or he will die. Oblomovsky’s only reliable friend is his half-German friend from school, Andrey. He has been trying to persuade Oblomovsky to come abroad with him for years. In any case, he finally gets Oblomovsky out of the house and visiting people, where he meets and falls in love with young and innocent singer Olga. They spend time in neighboring dachas. After a great deal of hints, tears, and persuasion, Oblomovsky proposes to Olga and is accepted. You finish the first half with a great feeling of relief and happiness that Oblomovsky’s life is on the way up. However, it’s not to last. Upon his return to Moscow, Oblomovsky has moved into the new flat that Terenchev found for him, which happens to be owned by Terenchev’s homely, mindless, loving widow sister. Oblomovsky can wallow there and enjoys his every need being catered to by Agnieszka. His engagement with Olga remains secret because he can’t produce evidence of his income, because he can’t bring himself to get to Oblomovska. Eventually Olga breaks off the engagement, and Oblomovsky falls ill. When he recovers, Andrey has married Olga, and Oblomovsky marries Agnieszka. Everyone lives happily ever after, just ruing that Oblomovsky could have been so much more if he’d tried. Toby Jones was perfect, you were so annoyed with his behavior yet you were fond of him and wanted him to succeed. Especially enjoyable were the little hints of song and sound effects that signalled Oblomovsky’s memories. Originally from 2005, it was adapted by the ever-reliable Stephen Wyatt. It co-starred Trevor Peacock, Claire Skinner, Gerard McDermott, and was directed by Claire Grove.