29 September 2013

FRINGE: A Chekhov Triptych

MELBOURNE FRINGE 2013
A Chekhov Triptych
Speakeasy and Family of Strangers
27 September 2013
Northcote Town Hall
to 5 October


One of the many things I'm loving about this year's Fringe is the number of full houses. There wasn't a spare seat at A Chekhov Triptych, which shows that it's one to book for.

The Dangers of Tobacco, The Bear and Swan Song are an ideal selection of Chekhov's short plays. Directed by Brigid Gallacher (whose performance of Juliet in The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of  Romeo and Juliet was a favourite of mine in 2012), each reminds how funny his writing is and how these stories resonate as much today as they did in the late 19th century. 

Being set at the approximate time of writing and using existing translations (with some of the actor's own words to make it feel better), this work is also a terrific book end to Simon Stone's recent Cherry Orchard at the MTC.

With a wonderful three-peice band playing and singing between the pieces, a consistently strong cast, who turn the quiet naturalism off to share the humour, and a design that appreciates a red-velvet curtain, this triptych honours the writer while sharing the voices and opinions of its creators. It's great stuff.

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