Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stoppard Reviews

Now the Macbeth excitement has died down, we anticipate The Coast of Utopia. Here are some review excerpts of the trilogy from Complete Review.
Voyage

"Voyage, which opens at the Bakunin country estate, has a melancholy, Chekhovian lilt, as the anarchist Bakunin and his friends speculate about life, love and whether progress will best come to their country by way of western or slavic ideals. (...) Voyage is the one work in the trio that looks likeliest to have its own onward separate life." - The Economist

"Each play in the trilogy, dealing with 19th-century Russian revolutionaries, has its own style. Voyage, the first and best, focuses on the anarchic Bakunin and the critic Belinsky and seems like a tonic combination of Gorki and Chekhov." - Michael Billington, The Guardian

"Voyage, the first part of the trilogy, is by far the most artfully arranged and judiciously edited of the three." - Ben Brantley, The New York Times

"But if you want to sample a single play, I think the finest is Voyage, which starts in a genially Chekhovian style, introduces key characters, and gives you a sense of the intellectual hurly-burly of an age in which dissident aristocrats or "repentant gentry" were leading the opposition to a serf-owning society and a monstrously oppressive Tsar." - Benedict Nightingale, The Times

"The liveliest piece" - J. Yeh, The Village Voice

Shipwreck

"Shipwreck, the most tumultuous of the three plays, focuses on the failed European revolutions of 1848. To be crude, you could call this one Les Misérables for intellectuals" - The Economist

" Shipwreck, the least satisfying, deals with the impact of the 1848 French revolution on a group of nomadic intellectuals, including the libertarian socialist Alexander Herzen and the westernised Turgenev." - Michael Billington, The Guardian

Salvage

"Salvage (...) offers a Dickensian portrait of the fractious émigré community." - Michael Billington, The Guardian

"Only in the last play, Salvage, is it possible to start really caring about his central characters and their families, as people start to take over from politics and we are shown the cost in lost lives and loves of all this revolutionary fervor." - Sheridan Morley, International Herald Tribune

There are also reviews on Stoppard's The Real Thing, some have been blogged and some haven't, but most aren't from Ms Ehle's version.

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