We’ve been lucky to enjoy three almost sold out weeks of our newest in-house production, Three Sisters– The reviews have poured in and have been universally fantastic. But this week, for a slightly different view, we invited our Tron Ambassadors along to tell us what they thought of John Byrne’s latest Chekhov adaptation.
The Tron Ambassadors Review… Three Sisters
John Byrne’s comic twist on Chekhov’s ‘The Three Sisters’ told the famous play in a refreshing format yet still kept to the tragedy and heartbreak faced by the unfortunate Penhalligan family and their dearest friends.
Fantastically casted, all actors involved in ‘The Three Sisters’ delivered the perfect amount of comedy, drama and emotion. The settler Olive, the sceptical Maddy and the vivacious Renee portrayed the three sisters fantastically – displaying three very different women with, at times, such contrasting personalities but who still managed to retain the similarities and bond of the three sisters they were playing. This created a flawless, believable and naturalistic performance. Sylvester McCoy’s portrayal of the lovable – alcoholic Doc lifted the audience’s spirits even at the saddest of times – creating, despite his age, an energetic and charismatic character.
Stylised from the very onset of the play, every scene change and use of lighting was executed fantastically throughout the entirety of the production creating the perfect atmosphere to tell the story of the Penhalligan’s misfortunes and desire to return to their native London.
The set used in the play was simplistic yet stylish and created a beautiful background for the emotional ending of the story – engulfing the viewers into the crisp autumn day it was set in. The slightly small stage was never made apparent to the audience as the space was used brilliantly convincing the viewer that they really were in the huge Penhalligan household. With such realistic costumes and settings you really felt as if you were in a time warp sending you far back into the 1960’s.
One critique to be made is that by the end of the second half there were some moments that felt like they may not have necessarily been needed – by cutting them out, the play would have flowed and ended more smoothly.
Despite the unhappy, worn-down lives the play depicts it somehow manages to be such a lively, energetic production through its wonderful, linguistic cast and stylish yet realistic settings.
The three sisters may face torment throughout the play but viewing their journey is by far the opposite.
John Byrne’s modern adaption of Chekov’s “The Three Sisters” set in 1960’s Dunoon was an interesting play, engaging with audience at just about the right level to leave them thinking. The play focuses in on the lives and interactions of three sisters: Olive the eldest sister who is more or less a mother figure throughout the play, Maddy the middle sister who was quite originally thought to be quite uptight but you warm up to her and feel sorry for her as the story progresses and Renee the youngest sister who started off young and innocent but became more sad as the play went on.
To start with the lighting of the play was absolutely fantastic. It seemed to make the audience follow what was happening and make us focus on the different parts of the stage when they wanted us to. It also added to the ferocity of the fire in act three as it seemed to absorb the stage and audience in what felt like the embers of a fire.
Moving on to the sound it added so much to the overall atmosphere to the play. For example the sounds of the fire engine moving away from the stage really helped make the audience feel there was more than just the house there but that was all that we could see. Although there was a few muck ups with the sound queues, like when Archie was on stage but the sounds of him playing the violin seemed to overlap. Otherwise the sound seemed to heighten the mood of the audience.
It was a very good production overall. Even if there were a few small hiccups here and there it didn’t take away from the whole performance. I believe it was very well done, all the actors were brilliant but it just seemed a bit long in my opinion but I suppose it was a classic play and it was probably written as such to make sure the adaptation worked, which it did.
John Byrne’s production of the Three Sister’s is a wonderful take on a classic!
The play was originally written by the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov, however in John Byrne’s adaptation it has been given a modern Scottish twist which is very intriguing for its viewers. It is set in the 1960’s in Dunoon, and the story is based on three sisters– Olive, Maddy, and Renee. The play opens with them reminiscing about their father’s funeral that happened a year earlier. After moving from their home town of London to Scotland for their fathers work in the Royal Navy fleet, the sisters feel out of place after his death. The play follows the women through the years and we can see all aspects of their lives, from their work to their relationships, both develop and rot.
The set provides an eye catching and effective use of space and it is clear that a lot of attention went into the details, even to considerably small aspects of the set such as a picture frame. The set also allowed for the unique use of lighting, which was very imaginative, especially in the fire scene. There were many touching moments and brilliant acting from the whole cast, Jessica Hardwick in particular in her portrayal of Renee. Despite the drama within the lives of the sisters, there were also many laughs, many stemming from Dr MacGilivery who was played by the wonderful Sylvester McCoy.
The variety of entrances and exits also meant that there was a lot of movement, which was directed so flawlessly by Andy Arnold that it came across as being very natural. However it was also quite distracting at times and made it difficult to focus.
The audience becomes much entangled with all the relationships, emotions and heartbreaks within the play that it’s a spellbinding few hours. Overall the play was very well done in all aspects and definitely a show not to miss!
Tron Theatre’s ‘Three Sisters’ is a great piece of theatre- if you don’t mind leaving after two hours feeling a little drained with a bleak outlook on life.
The performance told the story of three sisters, Olive, Maddy and Renee, who lived in Dunoon yet wished to return to their home in London. As the play progresses, the characters gradually lose hope of ever returning to London,an aspect which is cleverly reflected in the increasing greyscale of costume and makeup, as well as in the characters’ lines.
My first impression was that the multi-levelled set and lighting were impressive, and I hoped that it wouldn’t overshadow the acting. It didn’t. All actors embodied their characters well, capturing each unique personality- Dr MacGillivery (Sylvester McCoy) particularly captured the audience with his quirks and humorous remarks. The scene and costume changes were very slick, and collaborated well with the dream-like state and poetic word structure at the very beginning.
However, the energy began to fizzle out as the play took a more melancholic tone, and the plot seemed to only loosely affect the characters without much literal portrayal. The audience lost interest as the general storyline began to repeat itself, only with different characters and slightly adjusted circumstances. I hate to say it, but despite all the wonderful production, the play was a little…depressing.
All in all, ‘Three Sisters’ is perfect- for a very specific audience. The set/soundtrack/lighting-lovers, the aspiring poets and perhaps the next pessimistic philosopher who theorises about the pointlessness of existence, would all be people I’d recommend a ticket to. As for the general public, it’s not exactly a light-hearted comedy, and it doesn’t have song-and-dance numbers that’ll get you on your feet. This show will give the harsh reality of life, and you probably won’t leave feeling overjoyed, but ‘Three Sisters’ is definitely worth a view, if not for the technical aspects and execution alone.
The Three Sisters play was not written by a cheerful man. While poignant and touching, playwright Anton Chekhov’s black outlook on life still seeps through, leaving the audience reeling. However, John Byrne’s adaptation of the Three Sisters is also infused with lightness and comedy.
The Penhalligans are London-born aristocrats, scathing of their new settlement in sixties naval Dunoon. We become emotionally involved with the three sisters of the family: Renee, enthusiastic and fanciful, the sobering effect of darkly witty Maddy, fringed with sarcasm, and affectionate spinster Olive. Set over five years, the fluid passing of time sees buoyant spirits, friendships, affairs, rage and heartbreak.
With a chipper, hardworking attitude, a Disney princess is what Renee initially reminded me of – half expecting her to burst into song, I didn’t expect the immense character development that occurs. Quietly losing her optimistic naivety, Renee becomes multi faceted as a character, marking out Jessica Hardwick’s acting prowess.
Also to note, Sylvester McCoy, playing Doctor MacGillvery, was so believable and endearing that throughout his performance he quite literally elicited coos from the audience.
The beautiful chaos of the Penhalligan family is captured by layering: running, dancing, shouting, music playing, laughing… all showing them in their element. Contrasting, quiet dialogue to the swell of an atmospheric soundtrack, the flickering of characters in and out of doors… Bravo indeed, to director Andy Arnold.
At first I felt that Louise McCarthy’s melodramatic portrayal of Natasha was too much, especially when surrounded by characters that were all strong their own rights. However, that’s exactly what the character is designed to be, an almost panto-like performance is crucial to diluting of the rest of the play’s morbidity. In sharp contrast to providing much of the comic relief, darker manipulative ways surface, serving to shock the audience as Natasha has tricked them as much as she had the Penhalligan family.
It’s worth braving the emotional devastation for the beauty and humour wrapped up into this touching adaptation of the Three Sisters.