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Ibsen's "love's Comedy"

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#1 Epicoene

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:47 PM

Just starting the thread in case anyone else is going to see it. London premiere for this one, only 150 years after it was written.

#2 dude-1981

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:04 PM

I'm there tomorrow.
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#3 fringefan

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 09:35 PM

Next week for me - unless people post really dire warnings here before then!  I had forsworn Ibsen so am breaking my own rule for this...

#4 dude-1981

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:38 PM

One for the Ibsen completist I would say.

It's a funny play, the first half is 90 minutes and when it ends, it would be quite a nice point to end the whole show.  But then we come back for another 55 minutes and what laughs there are to be had dissapear and it becomes like a weird Ibsen version of Indecent Proposal!  I must admit, after a long week, there were stretches of several minutes where I totally tuned out in the second half.

Look out for some clunky verse as well, our group couldn't say if the poet character is given said verse because he is not a very good poet, because it spreads to some of the other cast as well.

Anyhoo, it is a lot better than the dodgy St John's Night that was at the Jermyn Street Theatre earlier in the year.

The Billington review will be out soon enough as he was sitting next to me.
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#5 mallardo

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 08:14 AM

I have to disagree.  I would say it's a must-see for anyone who loves Ibsen's plays.  This is not apprentice stuff, it's a serious and mature piece of work with most of the Ibsen trademarks - well reasoned social debates, a strong and unsatisfied female protagonist, an idealist male protagonist who can't stop talking, and, alas, an ending which doesn't quite convince.  But there's a bonus - it's actually quite funny.

The first act is dominated by young Falk, the student poet, who rails against the quotidian life and marriage in particular while pursuing his soulmate, Swanhild, a restless young woman  who more or less agrees with him - in a more considered way.  The second act is the rebuttal, a series of confrontations in which representatives of the practical world come back at Falk. The scenes are full of intelligence and wonderfully written - I wasn't bored for a second.

The play was originally written in verse and the adaptor has kept it for the idealists while prose dominates among the more mundane folk.  Far from being clunky I thought it was beautifully handled.  The production is very good and well cast.  Mark Arends as Falk is tremendous, a  bravura performance, and so is Sarah Winter as Swanhild. Their scenes together have a real charge.

In the end I was struck  by the fact that Swanhild - because of the decisions she makes - is a Hedda Gabler in embryo. Just give her a couple of years.  Altogether a fascinating evening at the theatre.
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#6 Epicoene

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 06:58 AM

View Postmallardo, on 17 November 2012 - 08:14 AM, said:

I have to disagree.  I would say it's a must-see for anyone who loves Ibsen's plays.  

I agree with all your comments.

This was a good effort all round by the Orange Tree, they are a cut above similarly-sized fringe venues.

#7 Honoured Guest

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Posted 22 November 2012 - 01:31 PM

The Orange Tree Theatre is a national portfolio organisation with about half the ACE grant of the Almeida, Hampstead or Tricycle. The local London borough also funds the theatre. Many fringe theatres are unfunded.

#8 fringefan

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 08:01 AM

As usual, yesterday's post-matinee discussion added a fascinating extra dimension to my visit.  Many interesting views were raised, including the suggestion made in the final sentence of mallardo's post.  Another - given that the matinee audience tends to consist mainly of older people - was whether the play would be viewed differently by a younger audience.

#9 Epicoene

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 01:17 PM

View Postfringefan, on 23 November 2012 - 08:01 AM, said:

Another - given that the matinee audience tends to consist mainly of older people - was whether the play would be viewed differently by a younger audience.

It's Richmond - the evening audience was exactly the same.

#10 dude-1981

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Posted 23 November 2012 - 01:22 PM

View PostEpicoene, on 23 November 2012 - 01:17 PM, said:

It's Richmond - the evening audience was exactly the same.

Quite - I've often looked around and pondered if I am the youngest person there and there is normally about 2 or 3 within 10/15 years of me and then the rest well above that.

I'm glad people are enjoying this, I should have made mention of the Swanhild character who is very interesting.  I guess some of you may be bigger fans of Ibsen than I generally am.
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