Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, translated by Christopher Hampton, Lyric Hammersmith, 19-Jan-2010 – Directed by Sean Holmes and Filter

I was expecting something a deal more experimental than this. The stage was without scenery, costumes were more or less modern dress and there was a large sound mixing desk to one side. There was some experimentation with strange microphone placement so that unexpected sounds and voices would leap out at you - at one point there was a very long pause in the action while a kettle boiled and the sound was amplified to suggest a passing storm - but after a while they seemed to give up on the idea. It was as if the play was making them play it straight.
In the end I think we got a pretty good version of the play although I was more aware than usual that some characters give long expository self-introductions which are really clunky. The sisters Poppy Miller, Romola Garai (possibly the first time I've seen her in a really adult role) and Clare Dunne were all fine and close to the ages that they are supposed to be. It was interesting also to see Nigel Cooke as the doctor at about the right age, it made him seem much more satisfyingly disreputable.

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