Friday, 12 February 2016


(Sydney Theatre Company)

Tom Stoppard's 'Arcadia' is set in an English family country house in two eras, the early 19th century and the present day. In the 19th century a landscaper plans a dramatic redesign of the estate grounds whilst residents and guests there are involved in a series of flirtatious and sexual relationships. Those events become the topic of research and theorising in the present day.

In my experience Stoppard's plays challenge audiences with the intellectual rigour of their dialogue and academically related themes. 'Arcadia' fits this pattern.

The play works quite well with the switching of its eras although I found the scenes set in the earlier era to be superior. They seem to me to be funnier and faster paced whereas the present day scenes seem slow and less witty by comparison. Whether this is deliberate in the play's writing or a consequence of the production's direction, I do not know.


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