Wednesday, 4 February 2015


When the weather turns bitterly cold as it is at the moment, I am always tempted to hibernate, simply popping out when I have to and then scurrying home. However I felt a Tom Stoppard play would be worth making the effort for.

Last year the English Touring Theatre company commissioned a survey to find the nation's favourite play and Arcadia was in at number 4 (The History Boys was number 1 & this will be on at the Theatre Royal next week). That said I was not familiar with the play but you know that you are in safe hands with Stoppard at the realm.

At just under three hours with only a 15 minute interval it is quite a long play but thankfully it didn't feel like it! For those who aren't familiar with the play it is split across two eras - 1809 and the present day. In 1809 we see Thomasina Coverly being tutored and the various other shenanigans taking place in a Derbyshire country home. In the present day a couple of academics are looking back at the Coverly family and trying to piece together what took place, each with their own particular areas of interest. I have to say it was a pleasure to see a play starring a female mathematical genius!

The scenes all take place in one room as the past and the present overlap with one another. The simplistic set worked perfectly as of course with Stoppard the play is driven by words rather than action. There has been a lot of praise for Dakota Blue Richards as Thomasina and while she was good, my personal favourite was Robert Cavanah as Bernard Nightingale in the present day scenes. He seemed to revel in playing the arrogant academic and while there were times you just wanted to give him a slap you still couldn't help liking him.

This new production is premiering at the Theatre Royal Brighton and is on now until Saturday, definitely worth braving the cold for so grab your hat & scarf and get down there!


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