Twenty years ago, Tom Stoppard unleashed his comic masterpiece upon the theatre world, earning him the best play award in the 1994 Olivier & Tony’s. Ever since it has been treasured by the public, & has been a sell-out show at the Fringe for the last deacade or so. Its current incarnation is at the hands of the delectably-trained Close Up Theater , from Dean Close School in Cheltenham. The play straddles two time-zones, the first in 1809 when Lord Byron is visiting a country house in Derbyshire, & the second in the age of Richard & Judy, when a scholar is visiting the same house on the trail of said famous poet.
Stoppard is at his most fluid & lyrical in this play, which wis full of wit & wonder & a delight to be amidst for its full two hours. The cast is 12 strong, with each role being performed flawlessly by the troupe. Especially strong is Charles Coombs as Septimus Hodge, who shall no doubt shine in the future. However, every performance was strong, & the sum is greater than its parts, & the effect Close Up Theatre exude is one of a finely-honed theatre machine, which no-doubt gets on well away from the boards. A worthy FIVE STARS…
Reviewer – Damo Bullen