By now we know what to expect from an Andrew Upton adaptation of a Russian play – brisk, overlapping dialogue with anachronistic turns of phrase and use of four-letter words. With the Sydney Theatre Company’s Uncle Vanya (2010), this approach, in combination with Támas Ascher’s brilliant production, worked superbly to blow away the miasma of gloom and torpor that usually blankets anglophone Chekhov. It was considerably less successful when the STC turned to Mikhail Bulgakov’s wonderful play The Days of the Turbins (2011) and the novel on which it was based, The White Guard. Here the loss of Bulgakov’s elegant, elliptical, slyly humorous style was compounded with a messy production and a cast that was, on average, a decade too old for their roles. With Maxim Gorky’s Children of the Sun, the results are mixed. The modern language adds immediacy but it is jarring to hear a refined sheltered woman of the turn of the last century use the word ‘fuck’.