by Laura Kressly
Through his most recent play An Adventure, writer Vinay Patel proved he can masterfully sustain family dramas grappling with big themes. By sticking close to Chekhov’s original story, this adaptation of The Cherry Orchard set in the distant future does similar. A spaceship replaces the estate, but the strict social stratification with a stark disparity in privilege mirror early-1900s Russia. It’s a smart adaptation that works well in surprising ways, though the heavy use of Chekhovian, reflective dialogue and a lack of high conflict mean the story is often slow and baggy.
by Meredith Jones Russell
There is a saying in Russian, ‘for a mad dog, seven miles is not a long detour’. This came vaguely to mind while watching Russian Roulette, in which veering wildly off course is basically the whole point.
By Laura Kressly
British theatre’s slavish reverence for classic texts stifles innovation, resulting in safe, similar productions of the same collection of canonical works. This attitude needs to be challenged, and RashDash’s Three Sisters proves they’re the company to do it. Their female-centred, millennial take on Chekhov’s story of three women trapped in the Russian countryside pining for their old lives in Moscow is a gloriously irreverent and refreshing interpretation.
“Nothing turns out the way we planned.”
Though 2016 has been riddled with despair, 2017 looks worse. With the fascist post-truth movement on the rise and Trump taking office in a matter of days, there is little to look forward to. Far-off lands look like alluring utopias, and it’s easy to fall prey to the lingering question of what the point is of carrying on in the face of all this societal disintegration. With existentialism one of the cruxes of the story, this Three Sisters is a bleak echo of present day narcissism and hopelessness. Phil Willmott’s staging of a new, pared back translation doesn’t stagnate, though. Combined with a strong cast, this is production uncannily suits our times.