Tag Archives: The Lady from the Sea

Theatre Review: The Lady from the Sea

9 May

Plot: The Lady From The Sea is one of Ibsen’s most lyrical, hopeful and rarely performed plays. Married to the respectable Dr Wangel (Jonathan Hackett), Ellida (Lia Williams) has a secure, comfortable but land-locked life. She is constantly drawn towards the sea. As memories of a past love threaten to overwhelm her will she suffocate on dry land, or find freedom across the ocean?

It’s my second time around at the Arcola celebrating their Ibsen season. I saw the excellent An Enemy of the People last month and had high hopes that this production will be just as satisfying. I find that after watching an Ibsen, I come out always entertained and although emotionally tortured at times, I seem to have gotten used to this unsettling feeling. What I like about the Arcola is it’s creative flexibility with the way they use their limited space to complement the production. In Enemy, there was this makeshift bath that run through just below stage level that made us feel as if we were transported to some coastal town in Southern Norway. This time around the main stage was right in the middle and structured in a way so that the actors can come out from 4 different angles, and still make us believe that it was in some small town by a fjord in Northern Norway.

Now onto the beef of the play. Ellida is a study of a woman on the verge of madness- emotionally disturbed but passionately portrayed here by Lia Williams. This is when it hit me that Ibsen has an abundant resource of men and women characters, and the more I watch them come alive on stage, the more I appreciate his analysis of these exciting characters, Ellida being one of them. In this Frank McGuiness version, the transformation didn’t come from Ellida, but from her husband Dr. Wangel portrayed with sincere accuracy here by Jonathan Hackett. The supporting cast of Sean Campion, Chris Moran, Jim Bywater, Alison McKenna and Fiona O’Shaughnessy whom I saw previously in the Enemy made for another strong performance of this beautiful, lyrical Ibsen classic.

The Lady from the Sea: 4/5

Playing at the Arcola until May 31

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Theatretrotting in May

4 May

Since I started going to the theatre on a regular basis, I now look forward every month in filling my diary with productions to watch. This month looks a bit busy with about 5 productions already booked. Now that’s probably not a lot for other avid theatregoers who probably go and see 3 or 4 productions per week, but I also have other things to do during the week, and I do get exhausted with all the late nights! And this new hobby of mine is not really cheap.

Now that I have discovered the joys of going to matinee performances which I did with Happy Now? last month it will allow me more flexibility on weekends, and then there’s Nicholas Hytner’s plans of having the National open 7 days a week now, which means even Sundays you can go to the theatre, just imagine all the productions to see!

But let’s focus on the now though Simone. So what am I going to see this month?

May 3 & 15- Major Barbara, Olivier, National Theatre

It’s my third (and then fourth!) time around and although I was supposed to watch it with my pal eddie who had to beg off because of her allergies, it didnt stop me from still going. I am bent on beating my record for the production I have seen the most number of times, with The Phantom of the Opera leading at 4 but it looks like there’s gonna be a tie soon, and about time too!

May 9- The Lady from the Sea, Arcola

It will be my 4th Ibsen production, and looking forward to be back at the Arcola again after last month’s brilliant An Enemy of the People.

May 12- The City, Royal Court Theatre

I have become a Hattie Morahan fan since the recent BBC version of Sense and Sensibility so I booked this from quite a while back. It will also be my first Katie Mitchell experience.

May 28- Beau Jest, Hackney Empire

A romantic comedy directed by Susie McKenna right in my local theatre. And you don’t have to be Jewish!

May 30- Pygmalion, Old Vic

It will be my 2nd George Bernard Shaw of this much raved about production that will set up camp at the Old Vic. Best way to end this merry month eh?