Three Sisters at Theatro Technis
There’s an international feel to this production of Three Sisters. Staged at Camden’s Theatro Technis – with its long history as a creative space for North London’s Cypriot community – this performance features a cast comprising no fewer than eight nationalities.
Fittingly for a production of a Slavic masterpiece, said cast is drawn from The Acting Gymnasium: a weekly workshop group that explores classic texts via the techniques ascribed to Russian masters of the theatre, such as Stanislavsky and Vakhtangov. The sense of the workshop is carried over into a performance that features as broad a range of technical acting ability as it does of exotic accents, and as a result the impact of the narrative varies depending on which of the cast is tasked with driving it at any given time. Nevertheless, a palpable camaraderie and keenness exists among the ensemble, and this ensures a zippy pace is maintained even through the odd hammy moment or tripped-over line.
Central to proceedings are the three sisters themselves, and there are three strong and complementary performances on display here. Roisin Keogh does exceptionally well, tasked with the emotional heart of the piece as Irina, and she receives able support from Reeta Hyyryläinen as the reluctantly matriarchal Olga, and Amber Mun as the wearily sardonic Masha. Elsewhere, Alexander Gordon-Wood steals just about every scene in which his Lieutenant-Colonel Vershinin appears via a diligent study of measured gravitas.
Though the script remains faithful to Chekhov’s original text, director Gavin McAldin’s adaptation subtly displays a commendably playful and progressive approach. Members of the battalion are kitted out with modern camouflage uniforms and AK-47s, and a soundtrack of 80s new wave pop from the likes of Altered Images and Joy Division lends a cool edge to the stuffy Imperial setting. There’s also a notable “sexing up” of the role of the nurse Anfina; traditionally a crone, but here portrayed by a youthful Isabel Alonso as a nubile French maid in the Carry On style. The scene transition during which she indicates the arrival of baby Bòbik into the Prozorov’s home by scattering toys and clothes from a pram while giggling coquettishly is particularly inventive and original.
Whether as an introduction to the work of Chekhov, or to the community-minded approach to theatre that its company represents, there’s a lot to be gained from a visit to this likeable and entertaining production.
Three Sisters is on at Theatro Technis until 25th April 2015, for further information or to book visit here.