James McArdle


By Anton Chekhov
In a new version by David Hare

Festival Theatre
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A major work in its own right. James McArdle is transfixing as the laceratingly cynical schoolmaster Platonov, who has bags of charm.

Daily Telegraph

Platonov is a riotous farce with Scots actor James McArdle superb as a Don Juan-type schoolmaster at whose feet women throw themselves like lemmings. Total joy.

Mail on Sunday

McArdle is terrific, charismatic and vital, a lodestar for the action whirling around him.

Sunday Times

Anton Chekhov is one of the undisputed masters of world drama. He is usually thought to hide himself behind his characters and stories, keeping his own personality well off-stage. But when he was young he wrote three plays, Platonov, Ivanov and The Seagull, which, with their thrilling sunbursts of youthful anger and romanticism, reveal a very different playwright from the one known by his mature, more familiar work.

Now the Young Chekhov season brings these three blazing dramas together to offer audiences the chance for the first time ever to explore the birth of a revolutionary dramatic voice. The plays show a playwright freeing himself from the constraints of nineteenth-century melodrama and herald the shift into the twentieth century, and the birth of the modern stage.

Russian schoolteacher, Mikhail Platonov, has a problem, one he has lived with all his life - he’s irresistible to women. Alongside the attentions of his home-loving wife, Sasha, he must also attend to the racing pulses of Maria Grekova, a young chemistry student, Sofya Yegorovna, a married acquaintance from his past, and most dangerously of all, one of Chekhov’s greatest creations, Anna Petrovna, a formidably intelligent widow.

If that wasn’t enough, he’s broke, in debt, and about to lose his home. For the sanity of everyone, and the stability of society, something must be done about Platonov.

Set in the blazing heat of the middle of nowhere, complete with criminals who live in the forest and a runaway train, this freewheeling comedy is a cry of defiance at the adult traps of conventionality and moral hypocrisy.

Young Chekhov promises to be an extraordinary event. Performed by one ensemble of actors, each play can be seen as a single performance or they can be enjoyed as one event, either over different days or as one intense theatrical experience on trilogy days on Saturdays 10, 17, 31 October and 14 November.

James McArdle returns to Chichester to play the title role having last appeared in A Month in the Country (2010). He more recently played King James I in The James Plays (Edinburgh Festival, National Theatre). He is joined by Nebli Basani, Pip Carter, Jonathan Coy, Nicholas Day, Mark Donald, Col Farrell, Joshua James, Beverley Klein, Des McAleer, Mark Penfold, Brian Pettifer, Nina Sosanya, Sarah Twomey, David Verrey, Olivia Vinall and Jade Williams.

David Hare is a playwright and film-maker, whose work has been staged to huge acclaim around the world. Previous work at Chichester includes South Downs (2011).

Director Jonathan Kent has worked on many celebrated and ground-breaking productions across theatre and opera. His most recent work at Chichester includes Gypsy (2014) and Private Lives (2012).

Supported by Young Chekhov Commissioning Circle

Cast & Creatives


Cast List

James McArdle


Nebli Basani


Pip Carter


Jonathan Coy


Nicholas Day


Mark Donald


Col Farrell


Joshua James


Beverley Klein


Des McAleer


Mark Penfold


Brian Pettifer


Nina Sosanya


Sarah Twomey


David Verrey


Olivia Vinall


Jade Williams


Creative team

Cast List

Jonathan Kent


Tom Pye

Set Designer

Emma Ryott

Costume Designer

Mark Henderson

Lighting Designer

Paul Groothuis

Sound Designer

Jonathan Dove


Maggie Lunn

Casting Director



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Running Time
2 hours 45 minutes including the interval