Reviewed by Alex Foott
Track 3 – Theatre Movement Bazaar and Greenwich Theatre
Adapted by Richard Alger
Directed and choreographed by Tina Kronis
Performance date – Sun 11th Aug 2013
If there was ever a time to introduce the youth of today to the works of Chekhov it is now. Theatre Movement Bazaar explodes onto the Edinburgh scene with an ingeniously corrupted version of the renowned drama Three Sisters. At the hands of writer Richard Alger, its script has been shredded and pieced back together with thrilling creativity that is wholly accessible to the generation of short attention spans. The tireless cast blazes around the stage and the audience is left utterly breathless, hurdling the joyfully nonsensical interludes including dance breaks, stand up routines, and a barbershop quartet.
For those of you questioning this piece’s relevance to Chekhov’s original, the characters and plot are identical. The Prozorov’s still yearn for Moscow, the soldiers still visit and even Natasha’s infamous pink and green ensemble is in attendance. Stylistically, it is as though the original play has been stuck on repeat, forcing its characters to evolve and mutate. Creating a new reality in order to escape their myriad woes they embark on several puzzling diversions that will have you positively weeping with laughter. Tina Kronis’ inventive direction expertly fuels the cast’s penchant for clowning as they deliver lines with exaggerated poses, cartoonish expressions and vast amounts of set rearranging. Likewise, her choreography is jaunty and rigid and mirrors Alger’s script effectively. Kronis respectfully severs the steady flow of comedy towards the latter half of the show and instead confronts us with the sense of hopelessness that Chekhov intended to portray. The effect is like a slap in the face and the audience, along with the characters, are plunged into withdrawal.
The cast achieves a real sense of ordered chaos, feeding their individual talents into the gaping maw of this theatrical titan. The three sisters are delightful in their ability to encourage one another’s misery, while Mark Skeens, as Andrei, is appropriately awkward and juvenile. However it is Caitlyn Conlin, as Irina, who shines gloriously among the others. Her endlessly contorted expressions, resembling a feral Betty Boop, will have you sliding onto the floor in fits of laughter while her stamina and stage presence are perfectly admirable.
Track 3 is unlike any adaptation I have ever seen. Its unabashed usurpation of an otherwise universally respected play is simultaneously endearing and thought-provoking. Refreshingly it succeeds in capturing and maintaining our attention, luring us into its Caroll-esque domain. With gags galore, sharp movements and a frantically orgasmic celebration of cake, it makes for a bumpy ride. Fasten your seatbelts!