Only idiots are happy. But then, maybe not- you’ve a mournful look about you at times.
In one of his most famous and personal novels, Dostoyevsky portrays the vivid inner life of Prince Myshkin, who has returned from years abroad spent trying to treat his epilepsy. On the long train journey home, he first learns the story of a woman who will dominate his life from now on.
- Roger Allam – Rogozhin
- Paul Rhys – Prince Myshkin
- Alex Jennings – Ganya
- Lia Williams – Nastasya
- David Swift – Gen Yepanchin
- Stephen Moore – Gen Ivolgin
- Gerard McDermott – Lebedev
- Paula Jacobs – Mrs Yepanchin
- Carl Prekopp – Kolya
- Jemma Churchill – Verya
- Martin Hyder – Concierge
Dramatised by Melissa Murray from the novel by Fydor Dostoyevsky. Directed by Cherry Cookson.
“I keep trying to steel my heart against him. I say to myself, it is inexcusable to be that trusting, that innocent. And not only is it inexcusable it is downright dangerous.”
The words above are uttered by Kolya, the youngest and most clear-headed character, used at times in this play to be the audience’s ‘every-man’ guide to the happenings.
Themes of innocence, religion, love, friendship, health and society abound, each of them explored from multiple angles, as is the case above with the first of this list. Here we are to shed all monochromatic Romantic preconceptions of ‘innocence’ being good and ‘experience’ bad- as Kolya states, here such simplicity is inexcusable.
With a novel as complex as The Idiot is, it’s hardly surprising that the adaptation should contain so many layers of symbolism, and they’re masterfully woven in without heavy handedness. It’s a tribute to both the producers and the actors that one can simultaneously dislike and sympathise with each of the characters in the same moment while at the same time following along with their stories.
This is not an easy listen- just as the novel is not an easy read- but if you have the time to devote to it, you will find that it becomes more rewarding each time you press play – Kayleigh