Andrew Scott tells Graham Norton about his one-man West End show Vanya

Virgin Radio

16 Sep 2023, 15:54

Andrew Scott joined The Graham Norton Radio Show with Waitrose to talk about what it is like to star in a one-man play.

In Sherlock (2010-2017), Andrew Scott proved that he is capable of playing a heartless criminal mastermind, and in Pride (2014), he demonstrated the opposite through his portrayal of a loveable, introverted bookshop owner.

He is an actor who can do it all, so it is no surprise that he was given every role in Simon Stephen’s new version of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.

Speaking to Graham Norton about the production, Scott explained: “The play is about lots of people thinking that their own particular pain, own particular plight, is unique to them.

"There are nine characters in it and they all live on [an] estate. Some of them are in love with each other. Some of them are related to each other. Some of them are jealous of each other. Some of them want to leave, some of them want to stay.

"I'm going to play all of the characters, selfishly,” he jokingly added.

Praising Stephen’s “incredibly modern” adaptation of the 1899 play, the 46-year-old said: “It's really funny, really sexy.

"It's in modern language. It's an hour and 40 minutes, there's no interval, [and] it's about unrequited love.”

Recalling how the play came to be a one-man show, Scott said: “When we were reading the play, the director and the writer were doing a workshop of it, and because there weren't many of us, we all had to play different parts.

"Because we misallocated the parts I ended up playing the opposite of myself, and we were like, 'Oh, God, those characters are much more similar to each other than you might have imagined'.

"Then I played another part, and then I played another part.”

When asked if it was lonely being the only actor, Scott revealed: “It is a little bit. I do miss the other actors, but I talk to the audience a little bit because there are monologues in the play.

"You become very aware of the audience and of course, there's a huge big crew backstage.

"We play now until the 21st of October, so I'm glad it's not too long a run because I think I'd just miss the other people,” he continued. “Actors are fun.”

The Bafta and Olivier-award-winning actor also told Norton what it is like to perform on the West End.

"You come off and you have a real high, but then for example, we had our first preview in West End last night and I woke up this morning, and you think, 'I can't do that, I can't do that again' and then you feel really really nervous.

"Then something weird happens to you during the day, you know, in the theatre, you only work for two hours a night or whatever it is, but the problem with theatre is that you carry it with you all day.

"The nerves, you just carry [them] around like a little dog with you all day, and then you let it out in the evening.

"Eventually you get a bit more used to it, but it does take an awful lot of your mental space, and then of course, [it] physically takes off a lot,” he continued. “It's a really physical show and there's a whole range of emotions in there.”

Vanya is on at the Duke of York’s theatre until 21st October. Tickets are available to buy now.

Listen to The Graham Norton Radio Show every Saturday AND Sunday from 9.30am on Virgin Radio or catch up on-demand here.