REVIEW ROUND-UP: Three Sisters at the Almeida Theatre

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Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Rebecca Frecknall’s production.

Culture Whisper★★★★ “Lynn’s adaptation captures the wistful waiting and delusion of the sisters profoundly, but Chekhov’s exploration of limited lives, thwarted dreams and the decline of the liberal elites offers fertile ground for interpretation, all of which feels under-adapted for the context of 2019.”

Time Out: ★★★★ “Frecknall’s gentle, dreamy production is a very beautiful thing. Adapted with a poetic light touch by Cordelia Lynn, it strips Chekhov’s 1900 drama of any real sense of period setting: there’s barely a set, and you’ll have a slippery time trying to pin down the era of Hildegard Bechtler’s elegant costumes.”

British Theatre.com: ★★★ “This is certainly not a bad production, containing all of the slow-burning drama and tension that you’d expect from a Chekhov classic. However, at times it feels just as lost and in need of the clarity that Olga, Masha and Irina are striving for.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Most of the interesting things about the Almeida’s production come about because of Frecknall’s direction or the superb performances of Pearl Chanda as Masha, Patsy Ferran as Olga and Ria Zmitrowicz as Irina.”

A Younger Theatre: ★★★★ “Frecknall is adept at using negative space and depth to convey the equilibrium of complex familial relationships, and at melding sound (by George Dennis) with visual elements to craft intricate, magical moments.”

Secret London: ★★★ “The design and direction manage to make the space feel both vast and intimate in the same stroke. These, early on, combine with some stunning choreography and clean-cut movement, but for some reason, this gets dropped further into the show with set changes starting to feel long and forgotten about. The less said about the use of projection, the better, too.”

Theatre Cat: “The performances are fine:  Ferran’s weary schoolmistress Olga, Pearl Chanda’s sardonic, bored Masha with her growing obsessive love for the stumblebum husband (Elliott Levey, beautiful comic timing) and a sweet Irina (Ria Zmitrowicz) who later moves from romping enthusiasm to despair and final determination with delicate strength.”

Broadway World: ★★★ “There are striking moments throughout, including a scene of lamplit intimacy and a rousing dance, but overall, this is a clash of styles. Though the abandoned piano on stage is symbolic of the sisters’ loss, it also feels like a muting of Frecknall’s voice; a more radical, stripped-back text might have provided the necessary space for her and her excellent company to explore and express.”

British Theatre Guide: “There is undoubtedly a strong market for modern takes on classics and this production should tap into that with every prospect of another West End transfer of a witty, sometimes superficial evening. Viewers will have to decide for themselves whether this style is as challenging and fulfilling as a more sober and faithful staging of the play that Chekhov wrote.”

The Telegraph: ★★★ “Playing the oldest sister, the over-worked teacher Olga, Ferran achieves an unforced naturalness: discreetly bright-eyed, solemnly watchful, hands a-fluttering in apprehension, she’s in a class of her own.”

The Wee Review: ★★★★ “What makes this production of Three Sisters so evocative and absorbing is the atmosphere that the actors have created. Despite relentless feelings of unfulfilment and melancholy expressed by the characters, you continue to sympathise with them.”

The Man in the Grand Circle: “Ferran is as magnetic as ever as Olga, the eldest of the sisters. It’s a shame she doesn’t get more stage time.”

The Times: ★★ “This is a play about three women, bored with their lot, who are desperate for fun, love, stimulation. And so, after three hours of this, are we.”

Metro: ★★★ “There are beautiful theatrical moments and Chanda’s misanthropic Masha is a compensatory joy for Ferran’s few starring moments. But could Lynn have cut more? At 2hr 40min this is a long non-march to Moscow.”

Three Sisters continues to play at the Almeida Theatre until 1 June 2019.

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Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.
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Emma Clarendon on FacebookEmma Clarendon on InstagramEmma Clarendon on RssEmma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.

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