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May 9, 2014 / basabbott

Ibsen at Roydon

An Enemy of the People

Mere Players

Roydon Village Hall


Ibsen’s Ghosts received some of the worst reviews in theatre history. His next play, An Enemy of the People, depicted individual courage against the tide.

Dr. Stockmann is a hero/villain of health and safety. Imagine someone today standing up against fracking, when it will create a thousand jobs in a deprived area. The play is as topical as that, although written in the 1880s.

Translations tend to be mix and matches of existing translations, by non-native speakers, so you get something kinda natural and relevant, here by Arthur Miller.

So 19th century Norwegians say, “What the hell?” and use words like ‘automatic’. But the moral debate is still fierce, particularly between Dr. Stockmann and his Mayor brother.

Steve Askew, as the doctor, has a natural raffishness that makes his vilification even more painful and unjust. As the brother, Clive Sinfield could have loomed darkly and sternly out of a Munch painting.

A vibrant cast, a good gaggle of townspeople and several quality sets characterise Gary Stodel’s production.


Basil Abbott

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