Theatre review: The crushing tragedies of RSC’s Candide

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Review: Candide

RSC Swan Theatre

Review by John Hardeman

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This version of Voltaire’s 1759 novel has been penned by the RSC’s writer in residence, Mark Ravenhill, who imaginatively interprets Candide’s collapse from a comfortable lifestyle of dreams and great optimism into an unending series of misfortunes.

Be prepared for strong language and violent scenes but Lyndsey Turner’s one hour and forty-five minute inspired production is to be recommended for its highly talented cast. Candide, living in an Edenic paradise, thought that everything was for the best in the best of all possible worlds but in being transported across parallel universes is soon disillusioned and quickly discovers that his principle is unsustainable. The story has its origins in the Age of Enlightenment and its appearance as a uniquely-written play on the stage of the Swan Theatre could be described as a theatrical milestone.