The superbly managed West End revival of Tom Stoppard’s 1993 National Theatre hit Arcadia is a major theatrical event that should not be missed. Brilliantly acted by all involved, under director David Levaux, the production is also blessed with a magnificent design (Hildegard Bechtler), atmospheric lighting (Paul Anderson) and haunting piano music (Corin Buckeridge) that parallels the eerie timelessness of the piece.

This is the play in which Stoppard, famously, sets out to teach us – and sometimes it is just a bit too lesson-like, perhaps – about some of the strange discoveries in mathematics and physics made in recent years.

These, it has to be said, are of no concern to one of the strongest characters, the flamboyant Byron scholar Bernard Nightingale (Neil Pearson). He hasn’t the slightest interest in whether the universe is expanding or contracting, nor even in whether (in one of those delicious Stoppardian absurdities) it is “standing on its hind legs and singing When Father Papered the Parlour”.

His sole preoccupation is with finding out what Byron had been up to on a visit to stately Croom Park, seat of the Earls of Croom, in 1809. In this endeavour he is helped and occasionally hindered by a pop-historian rival (Samantha Bond) and the maths whizz son of the house. (He is played by Ed Stoppard, one of the playwright’s sons, who gives voice to ideas supplied in part by another, the one-time physics student Oliver Stoppard.) This fascinating modern-day detective work alternates with a depiction of the events of 1809 at a gathering of intellects of the sort presented by Thomas Love Peacock in his contemporary novel, Headlong Hall. This book exercised a powerful influence on Stoppard, as did another novel, A.S. Byatt’s 1990 success Possession, with its dual time structure and literary probing.

Central to these Georgian scenes is the appealing figure of the young tutor Septimus Hodge (Dan Stevens), a Cambridge pal of Byron (who doesn’t appear) and, like him, one for the ladies. His conquests include the sex-hungry wife of pettish poet Ezra Chater (George Potts), and his witty boss Lady Croom, played by Nancy Carroll who gets many of the funniest lines. He is able, however, to resist the allure of his precocious teenage charge Lady Thomasina (Jessie Cave), despite her determination to have it otherwise.

Though it lasts a full three hours, this gripping play – by turns very funny, intellectually stimulating and deeply moving – contains not a single dull moment. Countless audiences will be entertained and instructed by it in the centuries to come. Grab the opportunity to see it now.

Arcadia is at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Tickets: 0870 060 6615. (www.theambassadortickets.