Opened 24 April 2014, Closed 3 May 2014 at the Noel Coward Theatre in London
Mossovet State Academic Theatre present Andrei Konchalovsky's revival of Anton Checkov's Three Sisters in London for a strictly limited season of just seven performances. Performed in Russian with English surtitles.
Four young people are left stranded in a provincial backwater after the death of their father, an army General. They focus their dreams on returning to Moscow, a city remembered through the eyes of childhood as a place where happiness is possible.
This production plays in repertory with Uncle Vanya and is presented by the Государственный академический театр имени Театр Моссовета, which is one of the oldest theatres in Moscow having been founded in 1923. The director Andrei Konchalovsky says: "I am delighted to bringing these two Russian productions to London's West End. No matter how many times you appeal to Chekhov, he is inexhaustible. Every time his work is seen on stage, you find something unnoticed, unexperienced and undiscovered."
Three Sisters in London at the Noel Coward Theatre opened on 24 April 2014 (at 7.00pm) and closed on 3 May 2014.
The Three Sisters 2003
Previewed 20 March 2003, Opened 3 April 2003, Closed 29 June 2003 at the Playhouse Theatre in London
Kristin Scott Thomas in her West End stage debut in Anton Chekhov's classic study of provincial life exploring the irony of hope and the inadequacy of consolation, presented in a new translation by Christopher Hampton.
The cast features Kristin Scott Thomas as 'Masha' (up to 18 May only), Susannah Harker as 'Masha' (from 20 May), Kate Burton as 'Olga', Madeleine Worrall as 'Irina', Eric Sykes as 'Ferapont', Robert Bathurst as 'Vershinin', Douglas Hodge as 'Andrei' (up to 18 May only), Stephen Ballantyne as 'Andrei' (from 20 May), James Fleet as 'Fyodor', Tom Beard as 'Solyony' and Tobias Menzies. Directed by Michael Blakemore with designs by Robin Don.
"This one is good, and often enough it is something more... Michael Blakemore, directing, and Hampton, translating, have made this a remarkably unpretentious Three Sisters, with no stagey grandiloquence or artificial lyricism... Blakemore's blocking is occasionally too symmetrical for Chekhov. Yet this production's pace and tone kept growing on me: it never inflates its characters, and always it lets us see them from multiple viewpoints." The Financial Times
"Michael Blakemore’s revival is as careful, sensitive and unostentatious as Christopher Hampton’s translation. There isn’t a weak or ill-considered performance on view, and the strong ones aren’t to be found only where you’d expect. Yes, Kristin Scott Thomas brings an emotional fineness to the role of the most passionate sister, Masha — but what about Douglas Hodge’s superb Andrei, or Susannah Wise’s unexpected Natasha, or even Eric Sykes as the old, deaf factotum Ferapont, trundling and puffing about Robin Don’s run-down mansion like an antique steam car?" The Times
"The beauty of Chekhov's Three Sisters is not what does happen, but what doesn't. It is the unfulfilment, the disappointment, the shattered dreams and disillusion of the three young women languishing in a Russian backwater that is so absorbing. Or can be. Michael Blakemore's starstudded new production isn't bad, but it's stodgy and lacklustre, entirely lacking atmosphere or urgency. Christopher Hampton's oddly colourless new adaptation is partly to blame; as is Robin Don's dreadful set, a metal rack at the back, presumably to suggest the cage of boredom and dreariness which imprisons the girls. Crude, cramped, ugly, oppressive. The biggest disappointment is Robert Bathurst, that handsome hunk from Cold Feet and an actor of great intelligence, wit and subtlety... Alas, his feeble, phoney, camp, semidetached performance has all the dash and sex appeal of an overweight maiden aunt... Fortunately, though, there are compensations, not least a wonderfully assured London stage debut for Kristin Scott Thomas... It's a performance of radiance, intensity and real star quality. Kate Burton is splendid as the wholesome, straightlaced big sister, Olga, and Madeleine Worrall makes a touching little sister Irina, whose freshness turns to frumpiness over the course of the play. There are fine performances, too, from Douglas Hodge, as the fat, shambling, henpecked brother married to the insensitive upstart Natasha (a wonderfully grating Susannah Wise); from Tom Beard, who makes a particularly disturbing and creepy Solyony; and from Tobias Menzies, a nicely nervy baron. James Fleet deserves a B+ for playing the schoolmaster as James Fleet. The usually reliable Blakemore, however, deserves a detention for his direction." The Mail on Sunday
The Three Sisters in London at the Playhouse Theatre previewed from 20 March 2003, opened on 3 April 2003 and closed on 29 June 2003
Oxford Stage Company's The Three Sisters 1999
Previewed 25 May 1999, Opened 27 May 1999, Closed 3 July 1999 at the Trafalgar Studios in London
Stuck in a garrison town, out on the edge of Russia, Olga, Masha and Irina dream of freedom, of sex, of romance and of Moscow. On Irina's name-day, a day of radiant sunshine, two figures appear in their lives - Vershinin and Natasha. Each will transform the family.
The cast includes Claire Rushbrook as 'Olga', Kelly Reilly as 'Irina', Claudie Blakley as 'Masha', Jonny Phillips as 'Major Vershinin', Indira Varma as 'Natasha', Tom Smith as 'Tuzenbakh', Paul Hilton as 'Andrei', Bohdan Poraj as 'Solyony', Paul Ritter as 'Kulygin' and Robert Langdon Lloyd as 'Dr Chebutykin'. Directed by Dominic Dromgoole. Presented by the Oxford Stage Company in a new version by Sam Adamson. Dominic Dromgoole's West End credits include Snake In The Grass at the Old Vic in 1997.
"Chekhov wrote The Three Sisters in 1899 and, more than any of his other plays, it has a fin de siècle feel. People talk obsessively about a future in which there will be balloon travel, no more war, discovery of a sixth sense, plenty of problems for individuals but happiness for humankind in general. Heaven knows what audiences will make of the piece in 2099, but there are many moments to make you and I shake our heads. As a good doctor, Chekhov must have known he was dying of TB when he penned the play. That, too, explains why Dominic Dromgoole's highly intelligent production seems more than usually preoccupied with time. Time may be a friend to future generations, but now it is a foe. Time is inexorably passing and, in particular, passing by the Prozorov sisters and their dreams of fulfilment in faraway Moscow... All the members of Dromgoole's Oxford Stage Company justify the troupe's residence in London by chronicling the characters' decline with a scrupulous sensitivity... Samuel Adamson's translation takes the trend towards colloquialism pretty far... but it adds energy and immediacy - and what's so wrong with that?" The Times
"This story of unhappy siblings marooned in St Petersburg and pining for Moscow is a relentless, remorseless litany of shabby-genteel self-pity. Every relationship is doomed, every hope dashed, and, most irritatingly, every goodbye endlessly prolonged. All that said, Dominic Dromgoole's production for Oxford Stage Company is a shrewd, subtle reading of The Three Sisters, resuscitating the bleakly humourous dimension which is often suffocated by pervasive, choking melancholia. Dromgoole's cast is almost too good: the dignity and depth given to each character nearly turns the production into a collection of star turns rather than a coherent whole... Dromgoole has commissioned a new translation from young playwright Samuel Adamson, with the sole apparent purpose of updating Chekhovian slang and abuse to a level that is currently acceptable... Dromgoole's production is fine indeed, but it's also over three hours long, and there's only so much of The Three Sisters I can take." The London Evening Standard
The Three Sisters in London at the Trafalgar Studios previewed from 25 May 1999, opened on 27 May 1999 and closed on 3 July 1999