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Public Enemy at the Young Vic

May 23, 2013

A new version by David Harrower of Henrik Ibsen‘s Public Enemy at the Young Vic left me feeling quite energised. Henrik Ibsen is easily one of my favourite play writes. He manages to capture an essence which lies at the heart of the human experience. His plays are full of wisdom. Wisdom that I always seem to be able to relate to.

In “Public Enemy” two brothers, Peter and Thomas Stockman are set against each other in a battle between the interests of the conservative establishment and the radical truth. A battle which rages on today and makes this play very contemporary. Darrell D’Silva and Nick Fletcher are both excellent as the feuding brothers.

The director Richard Jones and designer Miriam Buether have conceived a remarkable set which immediately transports us to the little town near Bergen in Norway where the play is set. It is a dramatic wooden structure which works incredibly well as a stage for the action. From the very beginning there is a feeling of being involved in the drama and this is played out particularly well in a scene of a town meeting where the brothers duel for position.

My only criticism is I did feel that some of the action was a little rushed. The play has been condensed into one 90 minute act which works well in terms of building the tension to the climax but is this possibly with the loss of some of the important nuances of the original play?

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