THREE SISTERS: Chekhov, Theatre Royal, Nottingham till12th June


THREE SISTERS: Anton Chekhov.
Theatre Royal: Tkts 0115 989 5555
Runs: 2h 40m: one interval: till 12th June.
Performance times: 7.45pm, (Matinees 2.30pm Sat).
Review: Alan Geary: 8th June 2011.

It was a genuine treat.
Press night for Three Sisters at the Theatre Royal was dramatic in more ways than one. The three sisters were down to two.

Evgenia Dmitrieva, who was supposed to be playing Olga, was rushed to hospital in Nottingham during the day – happily, at the time of writing she’s been discharged. Then there was a mix-up over planes carrying a stand-in actress from Moscow and then Paris. In the event another lady was entrained from Birmingham to read the part – very successfully. Amazingly, the start was delayed by only thirty-five minutes.

It was well worth the wait. Chekhov’s text, delivered in its original Russian with English surtitles, sounded wonderfully no-nonsense. And it was an evening of what appeared to be flawless performances from everyone.

It was striking how an un-cluttered set allowed each actor, when appropriate, to go in for the expansive movement or gesture. This was evident even when it came to some businesslike scene changing done by all hands. A stylised open-air set was equipped with a few tables, about twenty wooden chairs, a doll’s house and a gramophone, all of which were painted white.

And it wasn’t simply a matter of Irina (Anna Khalilulina) with her famous declamation at the end of the second act, “Moscow, Moscow, Moscow”: there were innumerable fine moments.

It was a neat directorial touch at the early gathering round the table to dim the lighting and subordinate general activity whenever two characters were having a private conversation. On the acting side, the emotionally complex scene between Masha (Irina Grineva) and husband Kulygin (Vitaly Egorov) after the departure of Vershinin (Alexander Feklistov) was beautifully done. So was Doctor Chebutykin (Mikhail Zhigalov) drunk. And there was the bit, comic but pathetic, where Soleny (Evgeny Samarin) was rolling about with Irina.

From Cheek by Jowl, this was a major contribution to the continuing Neat11 (the Nottingham European Arts and Theatre Festival). It was a genuine treat.

Andrey: Alexey Dadonov.
Natalia: Ekaterina Sibiryakova.
Olga: Evgenia Dmitrieva.
Masha: Irina Grineva.
Irina: Anna Khalilulina.
Kulygin: Vitaly Egorov.
Vershinin: Alexexander Feklistov.
Tuzenbach: Andrey Kuzichev.
Soleny: Evgeny Samarin.
Chebutykin: Mikhail Zhigalov.
Fedotik: Yuri Makeev.
Rode: Mikhail Dementyev.
Ferapont: Alexander Lenkov.
Anfisa: Galina Moracheva.

Director: Declan Donellan.
Designer: Nick Ormorod.
Lighting Designer: Judith Greenwood.
Music: Sergey Chekryzhov.

2011-06-16 10:52:00

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