The Three Sisters at the Young Vic

Three Sisters

Picture source: Young Vic website

We’d not been to the theatre for a while so while we were down in London for a short break last week we took the opportunity to go and see the“Three Sisters” at the Young Vic. Directed by the Australian Benedict Andrews, it was a radical production, giving a modern spin to Chekov’s story,  particularly in the first half.  I thought that the story translates well to a modern setting. I’m sure that there are many young people stuck out in provincial towns all over the world who can relate to the sisters’ situation – yearning to break away and experience life in the big city, but whose circumstances prevent it.

It was our first visit to the Young Vic and it’s a very intimate theatre. It was set up with a large thrust stage, occupying more than half the ground floor. We had seats on the front row of the balcony and had a good view, but found the seats rather hard on the backside – although not quite as bad as the bench seats at the Everyman at Liverpool.

There were some strong performances by the cast. I particularly liked Vanessa Kirby who played Masha, the middle sister, who initially came across as haughty and disinterested, but in the second half revealed her vulnerability. I also liked Michael Feast, a madcap and manic Chebutykin, the army Doctor who was an old friend of the family and who, it is hinted, could be the real father of Irina, the youngest sister. He came across as both a comic and a tragic character.

The brother, Andrei was played by Danny Kirane  In the first half, the sisters look up to him, but I couldn’t understand why they would do this as he came across as something of a pathetic, comic character, out of his depth, right from his first appearance.   His wife, Natasha, was played by actress Emily Barclay, a Kiwi , which emphasised her outsider status.

I don’t think that everything worked – the rendition of “Smell’s like Teen Spirit” during the first half seemed out of place. But, overall, I enjoyed the production.


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