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David Leveaux’s production, which runs until May 6, is pacey while escaping the tendency of directors to add excessive speed to Stoppard’s exhilarating wordspin. It’s true, some of Radcliffe’s fans sounded a bit lost by the action: the admirers behind me had to be reminded that there was a second half. But this star is choosing his stage roles smartly and unshowily and building a better sense of the timing that Stoppard demands.

On reflection, Radcliffe’s stage oeuvre has grown steadily, from Equus to The Cripple of Inishmaan and, on Broadway, James Graham’s Privacy. I would guess his devout wish is for us all to reach the point when we put away the Potter references. Not so fast, young wizard; but considering the lucrative rubbish he could devote his post-Hogwarts attention to, let’s give the chap a break.

At the other end of the acting career span, Simon Callow moves without apparent effort from acting to books on Wagner and a fresh incarnation as director — a role he last tried out briefly in 1991. The Philanthropist, at the Trafalgar Studios until July 22, revives Christopher Hampton’s acidic campus satire, set in an Oxbridge world, distant from the rough edges of the world outside it. A group of self-obsessed college sorts, their lovers and a preening novelist attend to their private lives, while outside the quads and rectories, the prime minister is assassinated and writers are targeted by terrorists.

The extraordinary thing about this is that what looked like an extreme scenario when it was first staged in 1971 now bears a troubling similarity to today’s Britain, in which terror attacks pass with a sad shrug and fanatics of all hues routinely declare cultural figures fair game.

Hampton’s play bears strong traces of Molière, a writer whose caustic wit and moral astringency he admires. The philanthropist Philip (Matt Berry ) is an unassertive sort, who manages, in a grim comedy of happenstance and bad timing, to cause the death of a student dramatist, feud with an appallingly self-satisfied novelist and indulge in a bout of promiscuity with further disastrous consequences.

While I can’t bring you a full review (fear of theatre-critic rustication, due to an embargo as heavily enforced as the Maginot line), this production packs in winsome TV stars alongside the portentous Berry, with Tom Rosenthal, Simon Bird and model-actress-thingummy Lily Cole. On an early glimpse, the challenge for Callow (who would excel in the lead himself) is that the result of packing a lot of actors with TV followings but less stage experience together is that absolutely everything is played at full tilt, as if they all feared we might switch over to Line of Duty. But Hampton’s tale, though a farce about weakness and wordiness, shares a dark heart with its progenitor Molière. Lose that and you have a romp in the quad, but not a story that should appall as well as amuse. Let’s see if Callow can recalibrate as The Philanthropist packs them in.

As for the impertinent portrayal of tweedy dons, so out of touch with the rest of the country that they fail to spot what is happening under their noses, I can only refer you to the uncomprehending response of high tables to Brexit. Call for a playwright, someone.

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