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Downton Abbey star to perform in psychological thriller
DOWNTON Abbey star, Robert Bathurst, is rehearsing to perform in what he says is the best play he has read in years.
Focusing on a young patient being assessed by two psychiatrists Blue/ Orange is set to take audiences on a gripping yet funny journey. He talks to Rebecca Cain about the Joe Penhall play, Downton Abbey and Cold Feet.
Robert Bathurst still gets recognised for his role as stuffy David in the series Cold Feet, even though the last series was aired almost ten years ago.
Since then he has starred in numerous TV shows and on stage, including playing Sir Anthony Strallan in Downton Abbey.
He is currently in rehearsals for a Theatre Royal Brighton play, Blue/ Orange which is being directed by Christopher Luscombe and is coming to Aylesbury this month.
When I spoke to him during a break in rehearsals he said he was suitably anxious about the play, as he just hopes they will do it justice.
He said: "I hadn't seen it before. It won all sorts of awards when it was at The National. "I loved it when I read the script. I still do. It is one of the best plays I have read in years."
The actor said it is a brilliant character piece, which is compelling and funny.
It focuses on a young patient, played by Oliver Wilson, who is convinced that Idi Amin is his father.
Two psychiatrists, Robert, played by Robert Bathurst, who is a senior consultant and Bruce, played by Gerard McCarthy, a junior consultant have very varying opinions on what should happen.
Robert wants to thrust him back into the community while Bruce wants to do further tests and plan long term care.
Robert said: "At its best the audience will be completely engaged by it. They will be swung this way and that by what's going on.
"They don't know what to think about the characters. They think they know about one character but their opinion constantly changes."
He said his character is someone who wants to be more senior and he wants to produce a piece of academic work, which will be published.
And he said the themes are still relevant today, and how we deal with mental health care.
Joe Penhall wrote the original play twelve years ago, when it won an Olivier Award, a Critic's Circle Award and the Evening Standard Award for Best Play.
It arrives in Aylesbury on September 25 following an opening in Brighton on 13 as part of a short UK tour and prior to the West End.
And Robert said he loves being onstage. He said: "On TV you have to put enjoyment on hold for six months until it comes out. You don't know if it is working or not.
"On stage there is the immediacy of it which I enjoy.
"It is a play made for theatre."
And this Sunday the third series of Downton Abbey is returning to our screens with Robert reprising his role as Sir Anthony Strallan. He said: "If I reveal what happens in the series I will go to ITV prison. They have thumb screws I think.
"I think people want surprises. A lot of people have a lot invested in the show.
"They enjoy the characters."
And he said people still continue to recognise him for his role in Cold Feet.
He said: "It seems to be extraordinary. It must have been ten years since it went out. About 2003. It is getting to ten years now.
"A lot of people enjoy it. It was one of those shows a lot of people talked about.
"It marked a period where they were going through the same sort of thing. "It was about people being rubbish at life and a lot of people can relate to that."
Blue/ Orange is at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from September 25-29 at 7.30pm with Wed, Thu and Sat matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets range from £10-£27 from 0844 8717607 or go to www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury
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