Interview / Online / Stage / Theatre

John Simm, Mark Gatiss and cast discuss their upcoming roles in Three Days in the Country

The Telegraph
Chris Bennion
13 July 2015

Turgenev’s Three Days in the Country, starring Simm and Gatiss, opens on the Lyttleton stage at the National Theatre London on 28th July (Previews from 21 July).

Here John Simm (Olivier-award winner [sic] and star of Doctor Who and Life on Mars) and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, The League of Gentlemen) discuss their upcoming roles in Patrick Marber’s version of Three Days in the Country, which opens on the Lyttleton stage at the National Theatre on 28th July. Following several fallow years, Marber has returned to form recently with his excellent play about semi-professional football, The Red Lion, currently on the National’s Dorfman stage. He will be hoping for similar success with his retelling of Ivan Turgenyev’s classic A Month in the Country, which he also directs.

Dressed in their dapper 19th Century costumes, Simm and Gatiss – joined by fellow cast members for the production’s photo shoot – talk about Marber’s new version of the play, which revolves around the arrival of a handsome young tutor at a Russian country estate.

‘The play is set during a long hot summer, where all these crazy and passionate things happen’ says Simm. Gatiss, who was last at the National Theatre in Alan Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings, opposite Catherine Tate and Katherine Parkinson, explains that the main theme of the piece is ‘the desire to live, not just carry on.’

Marber, who saw huge success in the 1990s with his plays Dealer’s Choice and Closer, will be hoping that Simm, Gatiss and the cast can deliver him his second hit of 2015 in the space of two months.

Premiered in Moscow in 1872, Turgenyev’s play was not an instant success. However, following Anton Chekhov’s critically acclaimed revival in 1908 – he both directed and starred – it has been thought of as a classic. Ironically, though written before Chekhov was born, the play is often described as being ‘Chekhovian’.

Three Days in the County is in previews at the National Theatre from July 21 and continues in rep until October 21.

National Theatre Tickets: 020 7452 3000 or via their website.

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