Start with the facts that Lenin, James Joyce and the father of Dadaism ( I still cannot remember his name) were all in Zurich in 1917. Assume they met. Add the plot of The Importance of Being Ernest. Now you have Travesties.

And you have a hilarious play that also manages to remind you how little you know about Russian history, James Joyce’s work or art. The references fly fast and furious. You think you should see the play again to fill in some of the things you know you missed, although if the truth be known, you would probably miss them again.

But it was a very funny evening. This time the play was more important than the actors, although it required a very skilled cast to bring the play to life.  Tom Stoppard did it again!


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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One Response to Travesties

  1. keithhpotter says:

    If you are not up on late nineteenth/early twentieth century European history, Marxism, Dadaism, and James Joyce’s Ulysses this play makes you (me) feel a bit of a numpty – to put it in English terms.
    At least I was familiar with “The Importance of Being Earnest”.

    Despite my ignorance, watching Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), Joyce and Tzara do their dance in Zurich with Henry Carr, our -unreliable- narrator, and various ladies in this production was dazzling and very funny.

    Tom Hollander (Henry Carr) is the actor who has been getting the kudos for his performance, but the rest of the cast was equally good.

    We saw this play at Soulpepper in 2009, or at least the first half, and didn’t like it at all. Either we have changed – highly unlikely – or this was a much superior performance. Anyway, it capped a fine week of theatre in London.

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