Messier serves as the anchor, portraying the eldest of the sisters, all of whom wish to return to their childhood home of Moscow for a better life. Messier's somber tone is matched in quiet intensity by Olga Konstantulakis as the middle sister, Masha, and Evelyn Lorena, who portrays the youngest, Irina. The lone source of comic relief is Kelly Kemp, whose whiny delivery and pouting as sister-in-law Natasha earn a few laughs.
And more laughs, or more intensity, are needed in a nearly three-hour production, which suffers from a monotony that may match the script but doesn't work for entertainment purposes. Instead, this "Three Sisters" feels more like an exercise for Chekhov scholars.
Presented by Orpheum Theater Corp. at the Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. May 1–June 12. Sun., 3 p.m.; Thu., 8 p.m. (866) 811-4111. www.theatermania.com.