REVIEW: Arcadia at the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds

The production of Arcadia performed at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal
The production of Arcadia performed at Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal
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Science, passion, poetry, mystery and a tortoise were brought to the Theatre Royal’s stage on Arcadia’s opening night.

The Bury Theatre Workshop chose to celebrate playwright Tom Stoppard’s 80th year by tackling his comedy.

Though the play did raise laughs from the Theatre Royal’s audience it was about far more than just joking around.

I really had to pay attention to the academia in the script and admittedly a lot of it went over my head! The cast definitely earned my admiration for the way they delivered their complicated lines with speed and energy.

Arcadia is set in Sidley Park a country house in Derbyshire. A simple backdrop complemented the drama which switched between 1809 and the present day.

Especially touching was the tale of Lady Thomasina Coverly played by Erin De Frias. Lady Thomasina’s genius was overshadowed by the romantic drama unfolding around her but did she get the happy ending and recognition she deserved?

In the present day academic Bernard Nightingale was drawn to Sidley Park on a hunch about the famous poet Lord Byron. Tim Lodge impressed with his comedic portrayal of Bernard, I am sure there are still some old-school enthusiastic academics like him around.

Bernard was helped, somewhat unwillingly, by the author Hannah Jarvis, played by Erin Lacey and one of Sidley Park’s residents Valentine Coverly.

Playing Valentine was Hugh Weller-Poley who gave a convincing, confident performance as the young mathematician.

If you want to watch a play that really challenges your brainpower but can still make you laugh Arcadia is at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds until Saturday June 3. Tickets are available from their box office www.theatreroyal.org.

The Bury Theatre Workshop are currently rehearsing for Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ which will be performed at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket and the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds.

For more information about their future productions www.burytheatreworkshop.org.uk