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Arcadia (PTP)

From 16 critic and 57 member reviews
Members say: Great writing, Clever, Intelligent, Great acting, Funny

About the show

Potomac Theatre Project presents Tom Stoppard’s acclaimed play, a comic drama whose many elements include Byron versus science, the Enlightenment versus the Romantics, and pure reason versus sheer randomness. More…

'Arcadia' juggles Newtonian science and chaos theory, the classical and the romantic temperaments, and garden history—along with loss, the fallibility of memory, and the future of humanity. The magnetic force connecting all these elements is sex, "the attraction that Newton left out." Running in repertory with 'Pity in History.'


“One spectacular theatrical experience…This show is incredibly impressive, clever and just puts the mind in this state of awe that never fades for the length of the performance...Seeing how each actor is obviously a professional at his or her trade, this show is like watching words and theorems lifted right off of the page and molded into a beautiful story that is as logical as it is sensual...To this phenomenal cast: you are all quite wonderful." Full Review

The Reviews Hub

"You must see this show...It is an intellectual thrill ride with humor and grace...Few plays are held in as high esteem as 'Arcadia,' and few companies have the talent and experience to do it justice...Potomac Theatre Project provides an evening of theatre that transports us and captures our imagination. The acting and directing are superb, and the play ain’t bad either." Full Review


"The Potomac Theatre Project's production of Tom Stoppard's 1993 'Arcadia' puts his genius on display in a good-natured, easy-going production of this time-shifting, mystery. Directed by Cheryl Faraone, the play finds its own rhythms that unroll slowly, revealing its pleasures when early conundrums are resolved in a charming and warm ending." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"As intriguing as these subplots are, it is not these machinations across the centuries that ultimately empower 'Arcadia.' That is what makes Cheryl Faraone’s staging of “Arcadia” so successful. She has managed to tap deeply into the playfulness of Stoppard’s script...What makes this shift in focus possible is Professor Faraone’s PTP/NYC cast which she directs with a high dose of care with just the right splash of whimsy." Full Review


"Not for the casual theatergoer, but is worth the effort if you're in the market for some intellectual heavy lifting delivered by a company of actors who forsake highbrow pomposity for sincere understanding of their work...This production is undeniably the main event of the repertory season...primarily because of its epic scope of storytelling that director Faraone wrangles into a digestible and diverting piece. It's an excellent introduction to one of Stoppard's most famous works." Full Review


"Bursting with crackling dialogue and near-sublime wit...A through-and-through excellent cast artfully directed by Cheryl Faraone makes the longish play fly by with scarcely a slow moment, consistently engaging our visceral spirits and our intellectual muscles alike...Anyone who appreciates the happy confluence of a great, timeless text and a company of players with a feel for history as robust as its skills will gain from seeing this masterful production." Full Review

The Theatre Times

"This unfussy production offers up an opportunity to reevaluate the play as one of the major dramas of our time…The production likewise allows the writing and acting to flourish...Faraone handles an ambitious script with aplomb, eliciting potent performances while keeping the pacing taut. The cast works as a remarkably intuitive ensemble, like instruments in a chamber orchestra. PTP succeeds in offering a refresher course on the sublime delights of this evergreen play.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"Ultimately this stunningly beautiful and funny a joy to behold...Directed with clarity and deftness by Cheryl Faraone...Funnier and more touching than I remember. PTP/NYC has given it a wit and humor that I had forgotten existed. It’s a wildly fun night of complex theatre, aching to educated, but in the end, 'Arcadia' just entertains." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"Potomac does a fantastic job preserving the essence of the play and keeping the simplicity of the staging, lest overdesign distract from the power of the text...Potomac’s production also highlights the complexity of the female characters. The powerful presence of women makes 'Arcadia' a compassionate, timely warning against misogyny...Certainly 'Arcadia' never sets out to be easy entertainment—it demands curiosity and attention to detail. But the result is a life-altering one." Full Review

Show Showdown

"Well done, largely thanks to Faraone's smart, clear, well-paced, and compassionate direction...The show is extremely funny, with twists and turns on top of twists and turns, and more themes than one play should be able to handle...The cast ranges from good enough to quite good...The PTP 'Arcadia' was the first where I found the modern scenes almost as wonderful as the ones in the 1800s...Not without its flaws, but it is a must-see for any Stoppard fan." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

“An engaging new staging…What PTP/NYC's revival may lack in polish, it makes up for in spirited performances and the intimate space…Directed with stylish panache by Cheryl Faraone…It's the quest for knowledge that matters most and Stoppard proceeds to expand upon this axiom in the philosophical debating between his characters…‘Arcadia’ is a treasure trove of debate and not to be missed.” Full Review

New York Arts

"If words are not your thing, this production is not for you. However, if you love language, humor and magnificent intelligence, don’t miss it...The play touches on imagination, garden design, the Romantic vs. the Classic temperament and good old sex...Calling this play witty or intellectual or both robs it of its charm and brilliance—it‘s way beyond. The Potomac Theater Project produces works that spark thinking and give audiences the opportunity to celebrate theatrical craft." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"The play proves as timeless as ever...While Stoppard shines as a technician in plotting what may be his most intricate work, his near erudite-to-a-fault script is far from bulletproof in the hands of lesser performers. Thankfully, once they warm up a bit, the company have golden ears for Stoppardian wordplay and rhythms...Draper and Jarvis are electric together as the feuding scholars...If you've seen it before, you might be surprised what you find yourself learning in another sitting." Full Review

The Huffington Post

“'Arcadia' is a dense, thrilling and wonderfully look at the big questions…Cheryl Faraone has her hands full with this play that bounces between time periods and accomplishes it with grace…Mr. Smith, while fully looking the part, disappoints slightly in his delivery of the rapid-fire text…Lady Croom (Megan Byrne) deftly manages comedy and imperiousness in equal strengths.” Full Review

Off Off Online

"Stoppard’s 'Arcadia' exemplifies the British playwright’s gift for combining intellectual inspection of the corners of science, philosophy and history with high comedy. The wit is dry, but the plays are juicy, and 'Arcadia' is one of his best...Although there are moments when the actors’ projection falters or they face upstage and words are lost, there is nonetheless much fine work...'Arcadia' is seldom done. Faraone’s production, even with flaws, provides an opportunity well worth seizing." Full Review


"'Arcadia' fits awkwardly in the confines of the Atlantic Theater's tiny facility. Scenic designer Mark Evancho has created an obstacle course of furnishings and oddly arranged exits that Faraone's blocking and the actors' stage presence never overcome...The production never effervesces as it should; and the wit of numerous passages is sacrificed to the languorous pace of direction and the almost lugubrious overall tone." Full Review

Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Funny, Must see

See it if A near perfect production of a perfect play. A few excellent performances.

Don't see it if The poster is misleading. It's not a magical love story. If that's what you're expecting you will hate it.

Absorbing, Resonant, Great acting, Challenging

See it if You want to experience one of Tom Stoppard's best and most challenging shows in an intimate setting with a super cast.

Don't see it if You're not ready to listen carefully to the dizzying play of ideas in this show.

Also I'd seen god Broadway and West End productions of ARCADIA before and a... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Intelligent, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting

See it if You are a fan of Stoppard or you have never seen one of his plays and are curious about the unusual style and brilliant dialogue.

Don't see it if You are bored by long complex dramas that force you to pay close attention or you will lose the thread of the complicated narrative.

Brilliant writing, strong acting company - excellent production

See it if You want to discover the joy of watching Alex Draper on stage You are ready to be challenged intellectually You are ok with frustration

Don't see it if If you want something light or silly or short Can't handle themes of unfulfillment

Also Tom Stoppard is regarded as a brilliant author and a few scenes into A... Read more Read less

Clever, Ambitious, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if you enjoy Tom Stoppard and his amazing wit. It is an intricate plot that blends art and science. I loved it.

Don't see it if you don't like Stoppard and his intellectual word play. Dense and wordy. Run time 2 3/4 hours.

Clever, Entertaining, Great writing, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if you enjoy the author or the play, if you're interesting in the tension between science and art, or are an academic.

Don't see it if you prefer musicals, if you like light comedy or if you need elaborate sets.

Also Some very strong performances in a really well written show.

Clever, Delightful, Enchanting, Intelligent, Romantic

See it if Beautifully woven, touching, philosophical mystery. Linked characters from two eras pursue their passions of discovery and each other.

Don't see it if You aren't interested in slowly developing characters, witty romantic comedy, and intellectual philosophy mixed into an eclectic stew.

For lovers of theater, Engaging, Terrific writing, Fine acting, Tight, clever production

See it if As a character says, science is all about the immense & the tiny and we live our lives in the in-between. Lots of words & concepts challenge

Don't see it if the audience in this well-acted philosophical romance. It's funny as well. Best inexpensive ticket around.

Witty, entertaining

See it if you are enchanted by amusing period pieces, don't mind shifts to the present, enjoy intelligent drama

Don't see it if You don't like talky plays.

Clever, Delightful

See it if you will enjoy a play about people with ideas that has wit, conflict, and suspense.

Don't see it if you find wordplay and cleverness that recall both Restoration comedy and Oscar Wilde tedious and empty.

Also The performances were generally pretty good. I'd like to have seen a m... Read more Read less

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Absorbing

See it if an exceptional production. Lots of science, the understanding of which isn't totally necessary to get the 2 interwoven story lines.

Don't see it if You don't want to think. It takes paying attention but its worth it. It's also long.

Also It might help to read about the plot and scientific principles before ... Read more Read less

Delightful, Intelligent, Great writing, Erudite, Interesting

See it if Beautiful writing from a masterful playwright. Good direction and acting, great costumes. Humorous and clever. Two stories in one.

Don't see it if The accents are a little off, but certainly not a reason to skip the show. The small theater provides a wonderful intimacy.

Clever, Delightful, Intelligent

See it if You are prepared to pay close attention to each word of often academic argument. You will be rewarded with wit, humor and grist for thought.

Don't see it if You want light, easy summer fare, and don't want to tax you brain

Intelligent, Great writing, Funny, Clever, Enchanting

See it if you're interested in a first-rate, lucid intro to a Stoppard masterpiece, enhanced by generally great acting and terrific set and costumes.

Don't see it if you don't want the challenge of big alluring ideas and intricate dialog even if the payoff is great fun throughout and a satisfying ending.

Also Jonathan Tindle and Jackson Prince were standouts as the characters Ch... Read more Read less

Hilarious, Great writing, Intelligent, Raunchy, Delightful

See it if you love math or poetry. You love plotting where every line counts. This is my favorite play.

Don't see it if you don't like very wordy plays, you won't enjoy connecting who in the present is wrong about what in the past.

Intelligent, Riveting, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if you want to see a very well-conceived and smartly-staged production of one of Stoppard's finest works.

Don't see it if you aren't prepared to focus & think at a complex, intricate story, full of provocative ideas & concepts, that is anything but "light fare".

Absorbing, Clever, Great writing, Slow, Confusing

See it if Stoppard's masterpiece of intellectual dizziness & romantic folly Well staged by Faraone w/able ensemble led by excellent Draper & Smith

Don't see it if Even for avid Stoppard fans can be a bit confusing with cultural/historical references coming non-stop (read notes!) Pace slows in 2nd Act

Absorbing, Clever, Great acting, Enchanting, Great writing

See it if a beautifully fun and funny production of Stoppard's romantic play. beautifully realized.

Don't see it if you aren't interested in using your brain. it's a thoughtful piece that only gets better the more you pay attention

Absorbing, Funny, Great acting, Great writing, Great costumes

See it if You are interested in a great performance in a very nice small space. The performers were truly entertaining.

Don't see it if You don't want to see a play that goes back and forth between two time periods. You don't like great theater in a very nice small space.

Very good stoppard. well done.

See it if You appreciate Stoppard.

Don't see it if You don't appreciate Stoppard.

Entertaining, Great acting, Clever, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You enjoy intellectual drama with good acting. I liked the costumes, too.

Don't see it if If you don't like period dramas--although this play takes places in two eras. Also I found it difficult to sit so long on the hard seats.

Also The seating was staggered and stadium style so there are no bad seats.

Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Refreshing, Great writing

See it if you're a Stoppard fan who's ready for a lot of words

Don't see it if you're looking for a super polished production.

Great writing, Sloppy production

See it if you love Stoppard (what's not to love) and have patience for not-too-tightly produced/directed interpretation.

Don't see it if you have already seen fine productions of this play; can tolerate sloppy British accents coming from an inconsistently talented cast.

Slow, Great writing, Profound, Inconsistent, Esoteric

See it if you have read but never seen a Stoppard play before and are interested in seeing one performed.

Don't see it if you are, or are bringing, a first-time theater-goer. You have no special interest in Stoppard. You have a short attention span.

Also Solidly so-so. If you've seen good productions of Tom Stoppard plays a... Read more Read less

Clever, Great writing, Disappointing, Romantic, Thought-provoking

See it if You're invigorated by intelligently scripted plays that seek to question and dazzle. You're a Stoppard or wordplay fan.

Don't see it if You don't like really talky, kind of pretentious plays that hop around in time. You're expecting Broadway calibre acting or perfect accents.

Also One of my favorite plays, Arcadia seems funnier and less daunting each... Read more Read less

Cast & Creatives (18)