WATCHING a two-and-a-half hour long Chekhov play in its native Russian may seem like a challenge too far for many people.
But although it took a few minutes to get used to glancing up above the stage at the screen displaying the surtitles, I was immediately glad that I had taken on the challenge of watching the production of Three Sisters at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal.
Cheek by Jowl’s Russian ensemble had the audience captivated from the start, with the emotion of Chekhov’s work perfectly conveyed and understood, even if you didn’t follow the surtitles at every line.
The humorous and tragic moments of the play were not lost in translation and the actors’ outstanding performances, from tone of voice to physical actions, drew you in and helped you empathise with exactly what they were feeling.
The soldiers stationed in the town provide many of the comic moments and as they leave the area, the frustration and dissatisfaction felt by the sisters, Olga, Masha and Irina, reaches its climax.
Their desire to leave behind the small town and return to Moscow is one of the main themes of the play, but as the turmoils of love and life unfold, it becomes clear that life just isn’t that simple.
Three Sisters is on at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham until Saturday, 11th June.
Performances start at 7.45pm, with a matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm.
Tickets are available from the Box Office on 0115 9895555.
by Helen Beighton