The practice of adapting classics to other times and places is now so well-established that we've surely moved beyond naive amazement at the universality of their themes.

That is, after all, what makes them classics. And in the case of Chekhov's Three Sisters the theme of educated women trapped in a stifling provincialism or loveless marriage is not necessarily specific to pre-Revolutionary Russia.

Mustapha Matura has transported the sisters to Trinidad in the early days of the World War II, where the low-key military preparations parallel the frisson of excitement provided by the itinerant regiment in the original. Where Chekhov's sisters long for the sophistication of their home town, Moscow, Matura's have golden memories of a brief stay in Cambridge where their father studied 11 years earlier.

This is Matura's second version of the play, and while the earlier one had a different title, Trinidad Sisters, it apparently stuck closer to Chekhov. Staged by the Rep for a national tour as part of the Eclipse black theatre initiative, it looks very handsome on Libby Watson's sumptuous colonial-style set.

But while retaining the slow Chekhovian pace, Matura offers shallower characterisation - a disparity most obvious in the almost absurdly stiff caricature of the British officer who stands in for Vershinin in the original. Nor is Matura's dialogue anything like a match for the original, sounding a distinctly wooden note at times.

So despite three good performances from Brigid Zeengeni, Nicola Alexis and Lorraine Burroughs in the title roles, the show slips inexorably towards the worthy but dull. Only Andrew Dennis's larger-than-life brother-in-law, businessman and would-be politician threatens to kick some much-needed vitality into it. n Running time: Two hours, 20 minutes. Until Saturday.

Terry Grimley