‘Encapsulates everything theatre should be & should do in this day and age’: THREE SISTERS – The Yard Theatre ★★★★★

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Debbie GilpinLeave a Comment

The Yard Theatre, London – until 9 June 2018
Guest reviewer: Lola Claire

Remove all the men from Chekhov’s Three Sisters, and what do the sisters actually say? Lucky for us, RashDash is here to give us an idea; a glittering, exploding, anarchic idea in their take on the Three Sisters, now playing at The Yard Theatre. This show is not to be missed, if you have any passion for being entertained or philosophising.

The company’s mastered many of Chekhov’s tropes in this production. RashDash takes Chekhov’s focus on time, his humour, and philosophy – they then throw the script out. They openly reference this derailment with a song about how the men in the play are the ones with all the lines. Then Masha (Abbi Greenland), Olga (Helen Goalen) and Irina (Becky Wilkie) ponder the dilemma they are in. The dilemma may be Chekhov’s old escapism, but worry not, this is no parlour chat.

RashDash has no fear of mixed forms and does so to great effect. The sisters explore their existentialism, womanhood, privilege (and lack thereof) through blaring pop vocals, and graceful and humorous movement, in addition to speech. And here’s the mirror.

These young women pondering their lives in our colloquial terms are speaking quite literally to the issues of young women in our country today. The reference to the Grenfell Tower tragedy in parallel to Chekhov’s fire speaks to our grander issues. The women’s musings over love, sex, and being left behind can relate on a personal level. RashDash makes clear, by exposing these women in our terms, that nothing’s changed. The backdrop collage of classical and modern goddesses, plus costumes spanning the eras, helps as well. Whilst taking you on a bright and exhilarating adventure, RashDash manages to take you to the heart of human nature, and more specifically, womanhood. But, did I mention the humour?

This piece is hilarious! I laughed out loud, quite literally. But its heart and honesty also held me nearly in tears. Good humour comes through honesty, and this piece is honest throughout. Humour is found in the playfulness of the movement; the biting honesty of the song lyrics finds bitter honest laughs. Furthermore, the self-awareness – both as characters and as performers – find intellectual chuckles and bawdy whoops alike.

Whilst Greenland, Goalen, and Wilkie impress with their acting, musicality, and physical performances, Chloe Rianna Burke and Yoon-ji Kim cannot be forgotten. Fortunately the RashDash team don’t let that happen. The brilliant musicians are kept involved and alive on stage; Burke and Kim truly become a part of the show, adding another punch of girl power on top of their music.

My verdict? An ode to the zeitgeist, and a reminder of our roots, this piece encapsulates everything theatre should be and should do in this day and age. Thank the goddesses these women have made a platform for their voice.

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Debbie Gilpin
Debbie Gilpin stumbled into writing about theatre when she moved to London after studying for a degree in Human Genetics at Newcastle University. She started her website Mind the Blog in November 2014 and also tweets from @Mind_the_Blog. She spent the best part of 2014-16 inadvertently documenting Sunny Afternoon in the West End, and now also writes for BroadwayWorld UK. Debbie’s theatre passions are Shakespeare and new writing, but she’s also a sucker for shows with a tap routine.
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Debbie Gilpin on FacebookDebbie Gilpin on Twitter
Debbie Gilpin
Debbie Gilpin stumbled into writing about theatre when she moved to London after studying for a degree in Human Genetics at Newcastle University. She started her website Mind the Blog in November 2014 and also tweets from @Mind_the_Blog. She spent the best part of 2014-16 inadvertently documenting Sunny Afternoon in the West End, and now also writes for BroadwayWorld UK. Debbie’s theatre passions are Shakespeare and new writing, but she’s also a sucker for shows with a tap routine.