Old Vic Alumnus Comes Home to Bristol

Bristol’s leading non-professional theatre company, Kelvin Players, are to stage one of the most popular and critically acclaimed works from a playwright with old ties to the city.

Originally performed in 1993 and revived in the West End in 2009, Arcadia is a rich and intelligent comedy of ideas that explores the lives and work of the cast of characters coming and going from an English country estate. Its author, Tom Stoppard, began his career in the theatre in 1950s Bristol, first as critic and later as a member of the city’s Old Vic.

Set in two separate time periods, the play sees the residents of Sidley Park doing intellectual and cultural battle with each other and with those who pass through the house. In 1809 Lady Croom detests the Romantic vision of her landscape gardener, whilst her daughter tussles with her tutor over the chaotic nature of reality and over the salacious goings-on in the gazebo. In the present day a historian and a university don come to blows over the presence of Byron at Sidley, and over the identity of the estate’s mysterious hermit. Meanwhile, the son of the house is jarred by the possibility that the daughter of 1809 was a genius with ideas years ahead of her time.

Drawing heavily on modern ideas of science and mathematics, the production promises to massage the grey matter of theatre goers. Director Richard Newman is confident that the show will entertain as much as it challenges, saying that it will “give a feeling of ordered chaos and the underlying patterns in seemingly random events…and if that’s not enough, there are plenty of discussions on poetry, sex and landscape-gardening to keep the audience amused!”

The innovative way that the play is written has the cast of actors playing the 1809 characters as well as their modern day counterparts, and old and modern props mingling together in each time period – so this fabulous production will see audience members immersed in an environment where past and present blur into one.

Arcadia will be performed at the Kelvin Studios from Tuesday 16 to Saturday 20 October 2012, at 7.30pm.

The Kelvin Studios, 253b Gloucester Road, Bristol, BS7 8NY. Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 October, 7:30pm. Tickets: £8 Tuesday, £10 Thursday all other days. Box Office: 0117 959 3636 www.kelvinplayers.co.uk

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