three’s company

This week we went to Hammersmith to see Three Sisters by Anton Chekov at the Lyric. As we took our seats in the fine theatre, the cast wandered around the stage, setting the scene for the youngest sister, Irina’s (Clare Dunne), name day party.

Olga (Poppy Miller), the eldest sister, works at the school and is glad of a day off, but Masha (Romola Garai), the middle one, frustrated with her dull life, isn’t in such high spirits. Irina and the Baron (Jonathon Broadbent), one of the party guests, talk about how they want to work – and the purpose it will give them (they’re wrong – it doesn’t) – while Alexandr (John Lightbody) delivers rousing arguments on the ability of society to become more beautiful and poetic. This is lost on Irina who pines for cosmopolitan Moscow, where she wants to live life in colour right now.

The sister’s fortunes and futures are shaped by their dowdy brother Andrei (Ferdy Roberts) and his hideous wife Natasha (Gemma Saunders), and the play tells the story of the three’s hopes and dreams. With a haphazard collection of modern day props, the staging, designed by Jon Bausor, has a post-modern feel to it, with sound effects created live on-stage, and a stage manager who adds and removes stuff in the middle of the action. Sean Holmes and Filter direct a brilliant version of the play – funny, chaotic and moving – and it’s on at the Lyric until 20 February before touring. A great night. Chef’s Kiss!

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