Monday, 16 July 2018

Classic is a simple pleasure

TOM Stoppard’s modern classic play Arcadia is revived at the Oxford Playhouse this week and it

TOM Stoppard’s modern classic play Arcadia is revived at the Oxford Playhouse this week and it has lost none of its original bite and humour.

Arcadia means a region or scene of simple pleasure, tranquillity and quiet.

It is ironic Stoppard chose the title for his award–winning work. Though it is set in the dining room of a country estate in Derbyshire, it would be hard to describe the activity inside as tranquil.

How many comedies combine Chaos Theory with Newton’s Second Law of Thermodynamics and a large dollop of literary history in a very funny, engaging, intellectual â??whodunnit’?

The well–designed stage hosts two groups of actors living their lives 200 years apart. Each group has a story to tell. It can be confusing the first time the 20th–century actors take over the stage, but the audience quickly gets the hang of the play moving from 1809 to the present day in the blink of an eye.



Stoppard’s dialogue is witty and withering at the same time as the characters attempt to compete, seduce, kill, outshine or reprimand each other.

There are some excellent performances from a very strong cast in a play voted the nation’s fourth favourite in a recent theatre poll. And it is hard not to like a piece of theatre that features a tortoise called Lightning.

The production was a joint venture of the English Touring Theatre and the Theatre Royal Brighton and the first major national tour of the play in more than 20 years. Arcadia runs at the Oxford Playhouse until tomorrow (Saturday).

Review by: Darrel Poulos



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