Vienna in 1900 was the most vibrant city in Europe, humming with artistic and intellectual excitement and a genius for enjoying life. A tenth of the population were Jews. A generation earlier they had been granted full civil rights by the Emperor, Franz Josef. Consequently, hundreds of thousands had fled from the Pale and the pogroms in the East and many found sanctuary in the crowded tenements of the old Jewish quarter, Leopoldstadt.
Tom Stoppard’s new play, directed by Patrick Marber, is an intimate drama with an epic sweep; the story of a family who made good. “My grandfather wore a caftan,” says Hermann, a factory owner, “My father went to the opera in a top hat, and I have the singers to dinner.”
It was not to last. Half a century later, this family, like millions of others, has re-discovered what it means to be Jewish in the first half of the 20th century.
Leopoldstadt is a passionate drama of love, family and endurance. It is Stoppard’s most humane and heart-breaking play.
A thought-provoking and emotionally powerful exploration of 20th centrury history, Jewish identity and one's relationship both to family and the past. Could risk being a history lecture, but is driven by Stoppard's usual intelligence and wit. Performed beautifully by the cast. Adrian Scarborough in particular is a stand out as Herman. Thoroughly recommend. Can only hope it is able to complete the run in due course.
I was pleased to have read the playscript before hand so the large cast of characters was not a surprise and it was a pleasure to recognise them. I was also prepared for the key moments. Some were powerfully ironic, especially for Herman, whose acting, as was Gretel, his wife, outstanding and moving. I thought the last part, apart from the recital of the names, was underpowered and perhaps overacted, specifically the meeting of the grown-up cousins =,although my wife was very moved.
It was a great work which encompassed many aspects of the growth of anti Semitic behaviours. The narrative element was strong and underpinned by excellent individual and ensemble acting.
A very moving account of my family story.
A massive and moving work of art that has more of a feel from Stoppards film work than the out and out comedy of Jumpers or Rosencrantz and Guildernstern. Very well acted and in the end Breathtaking
Beautifully staged, well-acted ensemble production. Skilful storytelling of the multi-generational experiences of an extended Jewish Viennese family over a 60 year period. Funny, moving and shocking. Exploration of identity and difference - individual, family, community, nation and humankind. Many parallels to modern times. More personal, human, emotional and accessible than much of Stoppard’s previous work. A real experience.
Excellent production. Really showed the joy and the agony of being Jewish in a civilised city like Vienna. How the security can so quickly dissipate when fascism takes hold. Brings to light too the different responses from the Jewish community. Interesting that none thought of moving to Palestine, or Israel after 1948. One of the characters even returns to Vienna. The play must prove something of a disappointment for supporters of Zionism. The pros and cons of which form the basis of an interesting discussion during the first act. Tom Stoppard has excelled himself by exploding the myth of uniformity amongst the Jewish diaspora. Israel is not central to the lives of many. And it certainly doesn't figure in this eye opening self portrait of his own family. Dr Mike Squires
Outstandingly moving and at the same time funny.
Superb storyline, excellent cast. Shows so we’ll the capability of one human being to be profoundly evil to his fellow man while others stand back and watch, or worse...turn away. An appropriate time to look back, reflect, search our hearts and NEVER let this happen again. I wept.
Really thought provoking and very moving. You could have heard a pin drop. At times it was almost as if one stopped breathing. Audibility sometimes a bit of a problem with some of the actors.
So looking forward to a Tom Stoppard play as spent my youth in theatres watching them all.. just dull
A moving and thought provoking play that gripped me emotionally.
Skilful blend of historical horror with warmth of family. Beautiful performances all round. Id single out Fritz the upper class officer, who brought nuance to an unsympathetic role that could have been burlesqued.
I really gripping true story about life in Vienna before and after the world wars So glad we saw it An unmissable play
Although I have not met this particular family the story describing the experience of generations of people growing up in central Europe being victims of antisemitism is very familiar. I was somewhat confused by the characters...who they were and how they were connected and by the end I was not totally sure who had survived. I guess partly this my have been deliberate as part of the 'feeling of loss' and partly my personal challenge of following the timeline and names. Overall I enjoyed the production and the themes but may need to go again now that I am more familiar with the members of the family.
An evocative and compelling remembrance by Tom Stoppard, Leopoldstadt explores themes of family, belonging, assimilation and affirmation amidst the changes brought about by political fascism and scapegoating. Well conceived, beautifully acted and directed -- see it.
Wonderful mix of comedy and tragedy. Top marks for being able to hear properly. Too often - in the "best" productions - we see actors who are so used to microphones and TV close-ups that they have not learned how to project . The "circumcision" scene - sorry, can't remember the Jewish word - was excellent. Demanding and difficult timing. Just a little more polish would have given even more comic impact.
Excellent for acting, pace and the writing. A minor point- better German pronunciation such as names Ernst and Hermann.
Excellent production beautifully staged and acted. Moving and thought provoking. We must never forget.
The most moving relevant play I have seen in a longtime It’s a play with a story which never leaves you. Best play I have had the privilege of seeing
This is the story of an old bourgeois Jewish Viennese family from late 19th century to the 1950s via the holocaust. Stoppards new play charts the harrowing passage from comfortable middle class life punctuated by acts of anti Semitic humiliation through the horrific dispossession by the Nazis to the post war desperately sad reflection on body count ,sense of alienation , trauma. The tale is well told and well acted and directed . But the play itself has flaws: a tad too much polemic . The play would have benefitted from cutting out the surplus verbiage . The last five minutes of the play are unforgettable and a handkerchief will be handy.
A terrific play. See it.
32 Charing Cross Road London WC2H 0DA
No refunds or exchanges available after purchase.
The cast includes Sebastian Armesto, Jenna Augen, Rhys Bailey, Joe Coen, Mark Edel-Hunt, Clara Francis, Ilan Galkoff, Caroline Gruber, Sam Hoare, Natalie Law, Noof McEwan, Dorothea Myer-Bennett, Jake Neads, Aaron Neil, Alexander Newland, Yasmin Paige, Adrian Scarborough, Griffin Stevens, Ed Stoppard, Luke Thallon, Eleanor Wyld and Alexis Zegerman. The children’s cast, comprising three sets of five children, includes Toby Cohen, Zachary Cohen, Olivia Festinger, Tamar Laniado, Maya Larholm, Daniel Lawson, Louis Levy, Libby Lewis, Jack Meredith, Chloe Raphael, Beatrice Rapstone and Montague Rapstone. Further adult and children’s casting will be announced at a later date.
Good To Know
The appearance of any member of cast is subject to change and may be affected by contracts, holiday, illness, or events beyond the producers' control. If in doubt please check with the Box Office before booking.
How Does It Work
You will receive a booking confirmation email.
Please print the booking confirmation and bring it on the day, a minimum of 30 minutes before the performance start time. You will also need to present the card used to purchase the tickets as valid ID.
When Can I Go
25th January - 16th May 2020
Where Do I Go
Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 0DA