Indian Ink

Previewed 15 February 1995, Opened 27 February 1995, Closed 6 January 1996 at the Aldwych Theatre in London

Peter Wood's production of Tom Stoppard's new play Indian Ink in London

Indian Ink follows free-spirited English poet Flora Crewe on her travels through India in the 1930s, where her relationship with an Indian artist unfurls against the backdrop of a country seeking its independence. Fifty years later, in 1980s England, her younger sister Eleanor tries to preserve the legacy of Flora's controversial career. Little by little, Flora’s mysterious past is revealed, as is the surprising story of two people whose connection lives on through art. PLEASE NOTE contains nudity.

The ORIGINAL cast from 15 February 1995 to Saturday 12 August 1995 featured Felicity Kendal 'Flora Crewe', Margaret Tyzack as 'Eleanor Swan', Art Malik as 'Nirad Das', Paul Bhattacharjee as 'Anish Das', and Colin Stinton as 'Eldon Pike', with Dominic Jephcott as 'David Durance', Rashid Karapiet as 'Coomaraswami', Akbar Kurtha as 'Dilip', Madhav Sharma as 'Rajah', Ravi Aujla, Derrick Branche, Kenneth Jay, Nalm Khan-Turk, Diana Oxford, Nickie Rainsford, Daniel Wellon, and Peter Wickman.

The SECOND cast from Monday 14 August 1995 to Saturday 6 January 1996 featured Niamh Cusack 'Flora Crewe', Margaret Tyzack as 'Eleanor Swan', Paul Bhattacharjee as 'Nirad Das', Akbar Kurtha as 'Anish Das', and Colin Stinton as 'Eldon Pike'.

Directed by Peter Wood, with choreography by Geraldine Stephenson, designs by Carl Toms, lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Corin Buckeridge, and sound by Nick Gilpin.

"There was never a vast deal of truth in the view that Tom Stoppard's work was brilliantly intellectual and funny but iced up inside, and the sneer is getting harder to maintain. Certainly his elegant, enjoyable if prolix Indian Ink at the Aldwych confirms what Arcadia recently suggested. Give him the right subject and heroine, and Tom is really quite a warm chap. The heroine of Arcadia was a precocious teenager doomed to die before she fulfilled her genius. Here, she is a young English poet gamely if unwisely come to the boiling Raj after her doctor said she needed a sunny climate for her half-drowned lungs... Again Stoppard skims between places and periods, this time India and Shepperton, 1930 and 1985, and again he introduces a pushy academic on the literary prowl... trying to discover whether and why Flora posed nude for an Indian painter when she passed through Jammapur all those years ago... The play's narrative turns out to be less daunting than one feared, and so do its ideas... His subject is colonialism, the nationality gap, the way different peoples see each other and their respective histories." The Times

"Theatre goers hoping to enjoy the sight of Felicity Kendal starkers in her latest stage role are in for a disappointment. Her nude scene in Indian Ink is over in a flash. It comes more than an hour into Tom Stoppard's new play, but blink and you will miss it. Fortunately, even a fully-clothed Felicity is enough to prevent people nodding off during what amounts to a marathon lecture on literature, art and history. She is a delight as a risqué 1930s poet living in India for health reasons, who poses for a shy local artist sensitively played by Art Malik... You need a university degree to get close to what Stoppard is trying to say about the Raj, the Empire and its effect on the arts and human relationships... I just wish the playwright's pen had run out of Waterman's ink a lot sooner than it did." The Daily Mirror

"There is no doubt that nymph-like Felicity Kendal qualifies as a miniature work of art when briefly glimpsed in the nude for the first time on stage... The artistic merits of her friend Tom Stoppard's new play, however, are rather more debatable. Indian Ink betrays its origins as a radio drama, entitled In The Native State... His play is consistently interesting on the sights and sounds of India — where both he and Kendal, coincidentally, grew up. The playwright is fascinated by the contradictions of the sub-continent's history... But the British love affair with India is a well-ploughed field whose soil has been turned so many times. Stoppard has simply contributed an elegant little chamber-piece where others have written epics." The Daily Express

Indian Ink in London at the Aldwych Theatre previewed from 15 February 1995, opened on 27 February 1995, and closed on 6 January 1996