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Bury Theatre Workshop Arcadia: a view from the wings

Posted on: 1st June, 2017

We are half way through a run of Arcadia, Tom Stoppard’s multi-layered comedy which plays with conventions of time and space in a glorious romp which mixes up notions of honour, sexual attraction and free will.

As prompter, I am in a prime position to enjoy the text, and to see how well the cast navigate the complexities of Stoppard’s ideas, drawing laughter from the audience as well as making them think about the big questions; life, death – and whether it possible that falling for the wrong person at the wrong time is what derails the orderly progression of the universe…

On stage, it is occasionally the DIS-orderly behaviour of props that can cause momentary chaos, smoothly glossed over by quick-thinking cast members. As a prompter, I have not had much to do since the cast are so well on top of their lines.

Arcadia merrily skips between 1809 and the present day. Imagine if you will, the ghosts of the house’s previous occupants coming back to share a stage with modern day academics Hanna Jarvis and Bernard Nightingale, who are wrangling over what happened in those long past days.

Only the tortoise knows the truth, and he’s not telling.

Arcadia is at ​the Theatre Royal until  Saturday 3 June, with evening performances 7.30 pm, Saturday matinee 2.30 pm.

Gayle Wade

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