RICHMOND Amateur Dramatic Society will be joined by an unlikely cast member in their upcoming show, Arcadia by Tom Stoppard this November.

Button the tortoise, named for Jenson Button the racing driver, will be joining the cast in – not one but two – roles throughout the show. Arcadia, often called Tom Stoppard's Masterpiece, is set in Sidley Park, a stately home in Derbyshire and the play moves between two time periods: 1809 and the present day.

It's a love story, a farce and a tragic mystery. Button will be playing the role of Plautus in the 1809 scenes, and Lightning in the modern-day.

The old adage of “never work with children or animals” may hold true for some, but director Kath Torbet is confident in her hard-shelled star. “As part of his role he gets to eat a fair bit of lettuce on stage and we think this will keep him occupied for much of the performance,” said Kath. “We also have members of our stage crew on specific ‘Button’ duty, should he decide to go for a bit of an explore in the wrong direction!”

“We were very lucky that a member of our society had a tortoise and was happy for him to appear on stage,” continued Kath, “although the production could work with a fake tortoise, there is nothing like the magic of having a real one, and the actors are really looking forward to working with him.”

Tom Stoppard's Arcadia will be performed at the Georgian Theatre Royal on November 11 to 13 and tickets are available from the Georgian Theatre Box office 01748-825252 or on their website

RADS clubnights are held on the second Monday of every month at their clubrooms on Castle Hill, with prospective members always welcome.

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