by Anton Chekhov in a version by Benedict Andrews literal translation by Helen Rappaport.
Young Vic 66 The Cut SE1 8LZ To 3 November 2012.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Wed (except 17 Oct) & Sat 2.30pm.
Audio-described 10 Oct 10 7.30pm.
Captioned 8 Oct.
Runs 3hr One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7922 2922.
Review: Carole Woddis 13 September.
Great production, great team.
Benedict Andrews may not be known to many in the UK, yet. But the Australian director with productions of such hard-hitting modern works as Stoning Mary, Blackbird and The Ugly One is already a regular in Germany. Here he has also directed Caligula for English National Opera.
He first made his mark as a director at Sydney’s Belvoir St Theatre, the company which more than a decade ago brought the sweet, memorable and epic Cloudstreet to London’s Riverside and which proved a revelation to sceptical `Pom’ theatregoers.
Andrews, returning to the Young Vic after last year’s joint production with ENO of The Return of Ulysses, certainly sets out his stall here as a director of flair and radical freshness.
His Three Sisters, in his own version, throbs with dynamism and an approach that sweeps away the usual reverential English approach to Chekhov. Dispensing with setting apart from a bare square platform – which in the final, crucifying scene is steadily dismantled by Russian squaddies – Andrews’ production is alive to every contemporary equivalence of Chekhov’s comic-tragedy.
The sisters’ brother, Andrey, looks like a young man gone to seed on junk food, Natasha, his wife-to-be, tottering in on high heels, a typical, heartless modern materialist.
Around them, Andrews builds a community of noisy lost souls – Michael Feast’s loving but drunken doctor, Chebutykin, Mariah Gale, Gala Gordon and Vanessa Kirby’s three wasted sisters into whose deteriorating lives William Houston’s wonderful Vershinin tries to inject grave notes of philosophical comfort. All to no avail; this Vershinin proves as unreliable as the rest, barely able to give Kirby’s distraught Masha a kiss before disappearing to join his regiment.
The secret of Andrews’ success lies in his visual energy and risk-taking which remains true to the play’s heartbreaking spirit of human stoicism in the face of unbearable loss. Andrey’s final speech, however – “The future was bright and full of promise. Why, when we’ve only just begun to live, do we turn into boring, grey, banal, lazy, apathetic, useless, miserable sacks of shit?” – strikes with potent force at our modern malaise of passivity and conformity.
Natasha: Emily Barclay.
Maid: Orion Ben.
Ferapont: Harry Dickman.
Chebutykin: Michael Feast.
Olga: Mariah Gale.
Fedotik: Gruffudd Glyn.
Irina: Gala Gordon.
Vershinin: William Houston.
Masha: Vanessa Kirby.
Andrey: Danny Kirrane.
Rodé: Richard Pryal.
Anfisa: Ann Queensberry.
Solyony: Paul Rattray.
Kulygin: Adrian Schiller.
Tuzenbach: Sam Troughton.
Singer: Sindy Czureja.
Director: Benedict Andrews.
Designer: Johannes Schütz.
Lighting: James Farncombe.
Sound: Paul Arditti.
Musical Director/Arranger: Phil Bateman.
Costumes: Victoria Behr.
Assistant director: Natalie Abrahami.
First performance of this production at the Young Vic 8 September 2012.