Love a Good Play: Three Days in the Country

Lyttleton Theatre, NT; August 5, 2015

Mark Gatiss. John Simm. I’m in.

I must however remember that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Russian theatre. I find the plays trudge along and I don’t connect with the characters usually finding them utterly self-absorbed or simply boring.

This is beautifully acted. Another quality piece by the NT. The premise is man in love with best friend’s wife. She’s in love with the tutor who in turn says he’s in love with her but is shagging the maid. The wife’s young ward is also in love with the tutor. It’s unrequited.

Meanwhile the Doctor proposes to the old maid, his best friend is in love with the young ward and it’s all a bit of a mess.

The first half sets it all up but feels a bit ploddy… The second half opens with a glorious comic scene between the Doctor and the old maid. Gatiss as the Doctor is wonderfully pompous and amusing. Luckily the comedic opening leads into a more lively second half — comedy, pain, anguish and despair. Including a wonderful monologue from Simm as the spurned lover on the anguish of falling for the wrong woman.

I did enjoy the staging. As for To Kill a Mockingbird at the Barbican, we had an open stage and the cast sat on chairs at the edge ready to “enter”. It gives the performance a feeling of fluidity. Am wondering if this is new, or just new to me?

My favourite quote of the play, deftly adapted by Patrick Marber is “Everyone is a joke they don’t get.” said in anger/anguish by the spurned lover. I found this throw away comment remarkably profound.

3.5/5 Quality. Gatiss Glorious (5/5). But the Russians arent really my cuppa.