If you choose to see one show this Autumn please do make it Three Sisters at the Young Vic. It has just been extended until the 3rd of November so get booking.
The Young Vic is one of the most exciting London theatres producing exemplary, daring work year after year, showcasing some of our finest actors, directors and designers. Three Sisters was adapted and directed by renowned Australian director Benedict Andrews.
This is a contemporary adaptation of an incredibly moving classic by Anton Chekhov, with a Kurt Cobain song thrown in replacing the more traditional Russian folksong. As a confirmed fan of the great Russians I was slightly apprehensive about this particular production, but I needn't have been. Bought right up to date in terms of the language and the contemporary Russian society in which this doomed family live in, the script delves deep into the psyche of these siblings and those that are a part of their lives. The play focuses on the fate of these very close sisters who hanker after a new more exciting life in Moscow where they believe happiness and true love awaits them. The small mindedness and claustrophobic provincial town they live in, eventually suffocates any dreams they may have. A tragic, beautiful play still so relevant in today's society where we constantly strive to achieve more, buy more and make a better life for ourselves against all odds.
Interestingly, when you walk into the theatre you are immediately hit with a stark grey stage bathed in a dull white light and a mound of earth at it's head, a wasteland. What you think is a terribly simple stage design becomes ingenious, as it reveals itself to be made of square tables that are symbolically removed as the play progresses and the family and community values disintegrate leaving nothing left. A simple brilliant idea that I've not seen done before.
I loved the three main actresses and in particular Vanessa Kirby as Masha pitched her tortured, bored and desperate world, perfectly. Her willowy figure draped in long black lace dresses gliding across the stage was both eerie and heart wrenching. Mariah Gayle played the straitlaced teacher Olga with enormous depth and sensitivity. Gala Gordon as the ingenue younger sister Irina was infectious yet destroyed us all at the end. The ensemble provided faultless support for the leads, though most notably Danny Kirrane as their brother Andrey who cut a tragic figure by the end of the play having been stripped of their money, home and most importantly his dignity.
The poignant final tableaux left the audience quite rightly heart broken. I don't remember ever being so moved by a production of Three Sisters, where I felt I'd had this much insight into their minds. An important version of this masterpiece that pulls no punches. I urge you to go buy your tickets immediately before it sells out.