Theatre Review: Rosmersholm

30 Jun

Plot: When the seductive Rebecca West (Helen McCrory) arrives at Rosmersholm, Johannes Rosmer’s (Paul Hilton) beliefs are thrown into turmoil.

Two psycologically fascinating character studies.  A society divided between conservatism and a new democracy.  A portrait of idealism foundering in the modern world of journalistic spin and opportunism.  A story full of frightening twists.

A play believed by many to be Ibsen’s dramatic masterpiece, in a new version by Mike Poulton.

I first saw Ms. McCrory in 2004’s Five Gold Rings also at the Almeida. I have always respected her as an actress and have been keeping an eye on her so imagine my delight when I learned that Almeida is staging its version of Rosmersholm with Ms. McCrory in the lead. Like webcowgirl, I am also on an Ibsen quest, which I am doing the same with Shakespeare, Chekhov, Shaw and Pinter. For the record, this is now my 5th Ibsen, and there’s still 21 more to go, not sure if the chances of seeing them all will be likely though!

Patiently waiting for the play to start, I spotted Alan Rickman a row below me. I remembered that he will be directing Strindberg’s Creditors at the Donmar this autumn which I am quite keen to catch as well. I was close to saying, nice to see you here Colonel Brandon! But I bit my lip of course. Now to the play.

Hmmm, I have to say I didn’t really like it that much, but I didnt dislike it that much either. I thought Rosmersholm as a rather strange play altogether. It took a while for my interest to build up, I suppose if I had some drinks at the first interval, it would of made the experience bearable towards the following acts. It just didnt appeal to me the way Pillars of the Community, John Gabriel Borkman, and An Enemy of the People did. If there was anything to recommend about it, it will have to be the performance of Malcolm Sinclair as Doctor Kroll. As for Paul Hilton and McCrory as the ill fated lovers Rebecca and Johannes, I just couldnt make myself sympathise with their characters that it didn’t bother me the least when in the end they ran towards the millrace and drowned to their deaths.

Clearly not one of my favorite Ibsen.

Rosmersholm: 3/5

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4 Responses to “Theatre Review: Rosmersholm”

  1. webcowgirl July 11, 2008 at 7:54 am #

    Yeah, I didn’t care about the two of them either – their characters had just fallen off the map in terms of believability and having them run off and do something utterly theatrical seemed entirely appropriate, since they no longer seemed real.

    I’m still wanting to see all of his plays but this left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

  2. feignedmischief July 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm #

    Hiya webcowgirl. When I read your review I thought I totally felt the the same way too. I suppose it was different with The Lady from the Sea even if a few times I also found it too far from real but.

    What other Ibsen’s have you seen, you prolly have seen more than me!

  3. webcowgirl August 27, 2008 at 8:33 pm #

    Well, I saw Hedda Gabler, of course, and then John Gabriel Borkman, so really I’m only up to four so far! But Borkman was truly amazing.

  4. feignedmischief October 7, 2008 at 9:13 pm #

    Hey webcowgirl sorry for the delayed response, but thanks for dropping by. Are you planning to see the National’s Mrs. Affleck which is apparently based on Ibsen’s Little Eyolf?

    https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/mrsaffleck

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