Three Days in the Country @ National Theatre – Reviews


Three Days in the Country was an inventively staged and masterfully performed delight. Mark Gatiss in particular shone as the doctor with the best marriage proposal in the history of marriage proposals. Well worth seeing.
by Matthew Radway

Three Days in the Country is a play by Patrick Marber based on the on Turgenev’s comedy A Month in the Country. Marber’s adaptation is also set in 19th century Russia, creating a suggestive atmosphere that immerses the viewer straight into a Russian upper-class environment. It is a story about love, its variations and complexities. Overall, it creates empathy with the viewer throughout dramatic and romantic feelings, which still remain significant in our contemporary times.
by Sara Buoso

Patrick Marbers adaptation of Turgenev’s A Month in the Country is a play about passion and despair of people living in the countryside. The setting of the play is more than admirable. Every visual person would appreciate it. Red doors first hanging in the air, later kept on the stage, suggest intensity and affair, blue skies and white clouds – unbearable lightness of freedom in the countryside.
by Gintare Pasakarnyte

Patrick Marber’s breezy new adaptation of Turgenev’s classic Russian melodrama A Month in The Country decides to eschew many of the emotional complexities of the original play with broad comedic brushstrokes, and largely works as a humorous dissection of the futility of unrequited love.

Much like Marber’s more contemporary original plays such as Closer or Don Juan in Soho, this adaptation bleeds his signature cutting wit throughout. Mark Gatiss as the self-important doctor Shpigelsky employs this best with a sharp characterisation fully embodying the script. Jon Simm is a reliable Ratikin, anchoring the house of increasingly hysterical aristocrats with a knowing gravitas and despondency that further highlights the absurdity of the various romantic entanglements playing out.

The directorial devices are brilliantly effective adding to the environment a claustrophobic feel, perfect for creating an atmosphere where secrets are everybody’s business and nowhere is safe from the prying eyes of society. There is an omnipresent red door onstage throughout, no matter what room we find the action taking place in. The significance of this door is later revealed, but even from the start you are made aware it houses a whole world of tantalising controversy.

As with Twelfth Night, you end up with the impression that all the drama and emotional turmoil has been manufactured by these wealthy characters simply out of boredom and isolation. The temptation with 19th Century Russian drama is to indulge in the languid pace, but Marber creates a frenetic and fluid play that never leaves you twiddling your thumbs.
by David Whittaker

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