Rock ‘n’ Roll

God, this play was long. The fact that it came at the end of a very long day at school didn’t help and the fact that the friend that I went with had just lost his job and was feeling really out of it also didn’t help. But of course none of that had anything to do with the play and everything to do with the way that we recieved it. It was a slow burner and of course that didn’t help too much. However, having said that I did enjoy it, but due to the befuddled state of my mind and the fact that I don’t know a lot about Czechoslovakia in the late 60s and the communist party there I found it a bit difficult to follow at first and it took a while for me to get a grasp on it.
Sir Tom Stoppard, born Tomas Straussler in the town of Zlin goes back to his roots for this homage to freedom. His hero Jan, played very well by Matthew Newton, is a Czech dissident who after returning home from studying in Cambridge, has his records smashed and is watched by the secret police. We watch his relationship with his former professor, who believes wholeheartedly in the communist system up until their reunion in England in the 1980s. The professor’s wife is brilliantly portrayed through her battle with cancer and the scene where she fends off a young academic who is making a play for her husband is a moment of high drama.
The cast are strong and even though as I said earlier, it takes a while to get going, it is worth seeing. The music played throughout is well done and separates the scenes out well. I may need to see it again to get a fuller understanding of it, but that’s not the fault of the production.


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