Opened 16 Jan 2009
Written: Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn
Directed: Felix Barrett and Tom Morris
Cast: Toby Jones (Ivanov), Joseph Millson (Alexander), Dan Stevens (The Doctor)
Produced by: Southbank Sinfonia and the National Theatre
Synopsis: A play for actors and orchestra: A dissident is locked up in an asylum. If he accepts that he was ill, has been treated and is now cured, he will be released. He refuses. Sharing his cell is a real lunatic who believes himself to be surrounded by an orchestra. As the dissident's son begs his father to free himself with a lie, this provocative play asks if denying the truth is a price worth paying for liberty.
What the popular press had to say.....
MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "Joseph Millson, Toby Jones and Dan Stevens perform with perfect pitch in a play that brilliantly counters Soviet iron with Stoppardian irony, and shows the terrors of living in an orchestrated society." NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Tom Stoppard’s sense of the world being tugged between forces of frail enlightenment and powerful darkness finds disturbing expression in this perennially original black comedy for six actors and an orchestra." KATE BASSETT for THE INDEPENDENT says, "a teasing mix of serious issues and batty wordplay. However, as a crossover of theatre and music, it's a flop." BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "Felix Barrett and Tom Morris's production is ominously alive. Richly alive, too, thanks to the presence of 40 members of the Southbank Sinfonia...superb revival." IAN SHUTTLEWORTH for THE FINANCIAL TIMES says, "To put it harshly, this bleak, fantastical indictment of the Soviet Union’s use of psychiatric hospitalisation against dissidents is a play for yesterday...Stoppard’s play says nothing about today’s Russia or about our own conduct."
Production Photo by Simon Annand