Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon spoke to the actor about starring in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of The Bay at Nice.

Hi Martin. For those who aren’t familiar with ‘The Bay at Nice’ what can they expect? A perfectly crafted and amazingly prescient short play about art, integrity and personal responsibility.

What was it that made you want to be involved with the production? The writing. The Assistant Curator isn’t a very large part, but it was so brilliantly written, I immediately knew I wanted to play it. That and working with Penelope Wilton again. Oh and Richard Eyre, of course.

What were your first impressions of the play when you read it initially? It was all so unexpected. The place, the time, the circumstances; I knew nothing about any of it and had no idea where it was going to go or what might happen next.

Could you tell me a bit more about your character that you play? He’s the Assistant Curator of St Petersburg‘s Hermitage Museum under Khrushchev. And like many people of the time, is caught between serving what he loves and serving the Party. He’s in perpetual crisis but not strong enough to do anything about it. I like him, but he’s a bit of a tool.

What has it been like working alongside Richard Eyre? A massive pleasure. I’ve long been an admirer of his and I’m thrilled to get the chance to see how he works from the inside. He hits a great balance of freedom and specificity, so you feel both empowered and supported in equal measure. He’s also terribly nice.

What are you most looking forward to about performing ‘The Bay at Nice’ for audiences? Watching them discover this brilliant lesser-known David Hare play.

By Emma Clarendon

The Bay at Nice will play at the Menier Chocolate Factory from the 14th March until the 4th May.

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