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A reviews round-up for Travesties at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Tom Stoppard’s dazzling comedy of art, love and revolution receives a welcome revival at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory.

Directed by Patrick Marber the production stars Tom Hollander who is lauded for his brilliant comic performance, in what will surely be an award winning role. Special mention is also given to Freddie Fox, Peter McDonald, Amy Morgan and Clare Foster.

Travesties runs until 19 November 2016 at the Menier Chocolate Factory, prior to a West End transfer at the Apollo Theatre in 2017.

Here’s a reviews round up from The Guardian, TimeOut, Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph and The Stage.

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REVIEWS ROUND-UP

STAR RATING The Guardian

“Political and artistic revolutions collide in a sprightly revival, directed by Patrick Marber, highlighting the emotion as well as the erudition of this brilliant play.”

“Patrick Marber, as director, has grasped the point that Stoppard, for all his playfulness and erudition, is a more emotional writer than we commonly admit.”

Hollander is very funny as Carr, whether steering us through his labyrinthine reminiscences or displaying his youthfully fetishistic worship of silken flannels and heavy worsteds. He invests Carr with a touch of impish devilry … and excellently brings out both Carr’s outward absurdity and inner anger.

“In a sprightly cast, Freddie Fox neatly captures the posturing arrogance of the avant garde Tzara, Peter McDonald invests Joyce with a whimsical, light-on-his feet assurance and there is strong support from Forbes Masson as Lenin, Clare Foster as Cecily and Tim Wallers as a supercilious butler.”

Michael Billington, The Guardian

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STAR RATING Time Out

“Travesties’ is a genuine celebration of a febrile moment in European history.

At the centre of Patrick Marber’s precise, energetic revival is the superb Hollander: it takes a certain calibre of comic actor to handle the demented gear shifts of the play, and he nails them all, as Carr careens from fanatical old crank to vain British establishmentarian to flailing Casanova.”

Andrezej Lukowski, TimeOut

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STAR RATING Evening Standard

“Tom Stoppard’s fiendishly complicated Seventies play isn’t often revived. It’s the sort of clever, dense piece that in the wrong hands can seem like an impenetrable prank. But here, directed by Patrick Marber with a finely tuned sense of its elegance and intelligence, it sparkles.”

“Tom Hollander is a delight..Forbes Masson makes the most of the underwritten role of Lenin, and Peter McDonald’s Joyce is beautifully observed. But it’s Freddie Fox as Tzara who dazzles.”

Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

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STAR RATING The Daily Telegraph

“Tom Hollander is hilarious in this mind-bogglingly entertaining Stoppard revival.

The artifice is fleet, funny and hooks you in even as you pant to keep up. Director Patrick Marber has teased out the emotional substance lurking in the high-falutin’ carry-on about the value of revolutionary art.

Although Hollander plays Carr to the comic hilt, absent of gaze, laughably conscious of couture, almost the philistine-fool, a key mood-switch reveals him as a Great War survivor struggling to assert some semblance of belief in order in the face of engulfing meaninglessness. And for all that the others run rings around him, the weight of that sad time, shattering politics and art, is what they are all, in their own ways, staggering under too.

It’s impossible to do full justice to the cast but Freddie Fox shines as the insolent Tzara, Peter McDonald is spot-on as an ineptly dressed Joyce (even magicking a rabbit from his hat), and the sung-through showdown between Clare Foster’s Cecily and Amy Morgan’s Gwendolen, a barbed conversational exchange familiar to Wilde lovers but here reprised as if in some demented dream, is alone worth a wait in the returns queue.”

Dominic Cavendish, Daily Telegraph

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STAR RATING The Stage

“Playwright turned director Patrick Marber, returns to stage a rigorous and vigorous new production, fielding a cast that is pure comedy gold.

Tom Hollander, Freddie Fox, Peter McDonald and Forbes Masson are embodied in larger-than-life brushstrokes as Henry Tristan Tzara, James Joyce and Lenin respectively, but it is in two of the supporting performances that the comedy really shines. Clare Foster is irresistibly funny as well as alluring as a librarian called Cecily, while Tim Wallers is a scene-stealing butler.”

Mark Shenton, The Stage

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