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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Theatre - We Are Three Sisters - The Lowry

Star rating – 5/10

As a bit of a Brontë fan, and a lover of Chekhov’s 1901 play ‘Three Sisters’ I was really looking forward to this new piece from Northern Broadsides which explores both at the same time in ‘We Are Three Sisters’. It isn’t actually as obscure as it sounds, as Chekhov allegedly wrote his play after reading the biography of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell.

But I am sorry to say that this production had a distinct feel of an amateur dramatic offering about it. The genius and passion of Emily Brontë, which I always find staggering bearing in mind the secluded life she led, with only the wild moors to inspire her masterpiece ‘Wuthering Heights’, was reduced to a comic turn. The antics of their brother Branwell, involving heavy drinking and an affair with a most unsuitable and, in this play at least, disagreeable, married woman, are featured heavily.

The minor characters in this play, including a doctor and curate, just were not interesting enough to merit them being given so much of the story time. The sisters Emily, Jane , and Charlotte were admirably played by Catherine Kinsella, Sophia di Martino and Rebecca Hutchinson. But the parts they were being asked to play verged on ridiculous, and at other times just plain boring.

The magic of the Brontë story is simply not captured here in this caricature of their lives. And I’m not at all sure that Chekhov would have approved either.

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