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Opened 22 July 2006, Closed 25 February 2007 at the Duke of York's Theatre in London
Tom Stoppard's new play Rock'n'Roll in London directed by Trevor Nunn.
Tom Stoppard's Rock'n'Roll spans the recent history of Czechoslovakia between the Prague Spring in 1968 and the Velvet Revolution in 1990, but from the double perspective of Prague, where a rock and roll band came to symbolize resistance to the regime, and the British left, represented by a Communist philosopher at Cambridge.
The cast for Rock'n'Roll in London features David Calder, Emma Fielding and Dominic West with Ben Addis, Nicola Bryant, Fiona Button, Martin Chamberlain, Jason Courtis, Dolya Gavanski, Mark Lingwood, Sarah Pearman and Peter Sullivan. It is directed by Trevor Nunn with set designs by Robert Jones, costumes by Emma Ryott, lighting by Howard Harrison and sound by Ian Dickinson. This production comes into London's West End following a sell-out six week season at The Royal Court Theatre from June to July 2006.
"Tom Stoppard has written one of the great political plays in the English language, and like all great political plays, it resonates with humanity... The play has two great themes. One is the cost of integrity... The other theme is the nature of freedom... Rock 'n' Roll echoes with Stoppard's humour: sad, acid, elegant and subversive... Trevor Nunn's production is a masterpiece of lucidity, intelligence and feeling." The Sunday Times
"A good Tom Stoppard play makes you realise how emaciated so much new writing is. Rock 'N' Roll begins with the Prague Spring in 1968, when Syd Barrett was part of Pink Floyd, and ends in 2000 when the Rolling Stones played in the city. It spans three generations, flips between Prague and Cambridge, takes on the personal and the political, the rise of rock 'n' roll, the demise of communism, Sapphic poetry, some terrible Seventies haircuts and the dilution of democracy in Britain. It makes you think, laugh and groove to the sounds of The Beach Boys and Pink Floyd, not in equal measure, but nevertheless, it's a profoundly satisfying mix. In a sense, Stoppard is exploring the road not taken, what might have been had he returned to Czechoslovakia, which he left as a baby. The central, extremely appealing character is Jan (Rufus Sewell, better than ever), a Czech studying at Cambridge with Max, an unsympathetic Brian Cox, an unrepentant communist who still believes Marxism is a beautiful idea. Jan's return to Prague in 1968, when the Russians take over, is not a political statement. He cares much more about the latest LP from The Grateful Dead, and gets involved only when a band, The Plastic People Of The Universe, is arrested by the Czech authorities. The first, slightly choppy, half of the play contrasts the freedoms and restrictions here and in Czechoslovakia... This play is not only rock'n'roll - it's extremely demanding, but you'll like it.
Rock'n'Roll in London at the Duke of York's Theatre opened on 22 July 2006 and closed on 25 February 2007.