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Arcadia (Salford)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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Emerging from its basement base of 58 years, the Library Theatre Company is currently at The Lowry as a staging post on their way to an eventual new home in the historic Theatre Royal.

The air above ground definitely agrees with them, as this production of Tom Stoppard’s  gloriously funny masterpiece is a total five-star-plus joyous night at the theatre.

Stoppardian in the extreme – ie, it’s packed with verbal wit and intellectual games, every line a gem – Arcadia is set in an English country house and bobs about between 1809 and the present day.  

Physics, philosophy, logarithms, steam engines, Fermat’s last theorem and much, much more, are woven into a dazzlingly brilliant entertainment.

In the present, author Hannah and literary professor Bernard are investigating past incidents involving a precocious teenager, a hermit and Lord Byron. Past and present blur as the plot unfolds.

Library artistic director Chris Honer has picked a totally perfect dozen as his cast and he deploys them with masterly aplomb. A superb drawing room set (designer Judith Croft) in heritage green and cream, exquisitely detailed costumes and perfect sound and light all help make this my best night at the theatre this year.

- Alan Hulme


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