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Three Sisters review at Tobacco Factory Bristol

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Andrew Hilton has had the happy knack in the five years that this company has existed of assembling casts who work unselfishly. At this unique venue, where virtually all the productions have been staged either fully or, as this one is, half in the round, the ensemble playing has been outstanding. That same strength is evident again in this clearly defined presentation of Nicholas Wright’s adaptation. At the heart of this story are three sisters full of hope for the future, who, with increasing sadness, watch their dreams fade and life drift past.

In Lucy Black (Masha), Catherine Hamilton (Irina) and Daisy Douglas (Olga), we have real sisters who squabble and spat over minor matters but who, under threat from any external source, close ranks tighter than any regiment in battle. It is heart-rending to watch Irina, the youngest, change from bubbling youthful expectancy to morose acceptance that her dreams of life and love will never materialise. Equally moving is the sight of the stoic Masha reduced to despair as her lover, Colonel Vershinin (Paul Currier), leaves with his regiment never to return.

Who could blame her for choosing the worldly Colonel rather than her boring husband Kulygin. In the sure hands of Andrew Collins, Kulygin has a quiet dignity and deep love for Masha, which overrides his dullness and forces you to have sympathy for this rejected man. This is a performance to savour.

It is appropriate that Olga, played with resigned serenity, should be the one to deliver the slight message of hope at the end of the piece, something so beloved by the author and rejected by Stanislavsky, whose Moscow Arts Theatre first presented this play.

Faithful to the text and never afraid of the humour, this production has room for a little more warmth at the beginning and raw emotion at the end to add variety to the presentation.

Production Information

Tobacco Factory, Bristol, March 24-April 30

Anton Chekhov
Andrew Hilton
Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory
Cast includes
Daisy Douglas, Lucy Black, Catherine Hamilton, Andrew Collins
Running time
3hrs 35mins

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