Three Sisters

Theatre, Fringe
3 out of 5 stars
Three Sisters

After the Young Vic's recent radical interpretation you'd be forgiven in thinking that 'Three Sisters' had been 'updated' once and for all. But The Faction's contemporary production is a fresh, if fractured, reading of Anton Chekhov's classic.

Ranjit Bolt's sharp adaptation zings with pop culture one liners and places the spotlight on the self-absorbption of the titular trio. Cosmopolitan migrants Olga, Masha and Irina spend hours bemoaning their provincial surroundings and philosophising about life with their cabal of admiring soldiers. Hope soon turns to despondency as their dreams of getting back to Moscow are disappointed and then dashed.

Bolt's no-nonsense script eschews family dynamic in favour of reinforcing private torments but he avoids sinking things into complete self-pity and retains Chekhov's lively bitter sweet comedy throughout. The focus on individualism shines a new light on this classic – particularly in dashing soldier Vershinin, whose romantic philosophising and wooing of Masha is hinted at as a selfish façade to pass the time.

It's an interesting take and an elegantly constructed production, performed by an impressive company. But coupled with costumes that look like they've come from Victoria Beckham's catwalk and a sparse set, Mark Leipacher's production makes for a very modern – Thatcherite? – 'Three Sisters' that begs the question; in this day and age wouldn't these young women just buy a ticket and go to Moscow?


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