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by Heinrik Ibsen
in a new version by Richard Harris
from a translation by J Basil Cowlishaw

New Wimbledon Studio


Cast list



Samantha Dew
Jacob Engstrand
Terry Ashe
Pastor Manders
Roger Sansom
Mrs Helen Alving
Frances Cuka
Osvald Alving
Richard Galazka
Directed by
Bryan Hands
Designed by
Prav Menon-Johansson
Casting and Assistant Director
Carola Stewart
Stage Manager
James Silbers
Assistant Stage Manager
Iain Peacock
Studio Manager
Katy Griffiths
Sam Bain
Press & Marketing
Charlotte Ward
Technical Manager
Stuart Graham
Furniture kindly loaned by
Carola Stewart
Costumes by
Didi Chapman

The Stage
20th January 2006
John Thaxter

Bryan Hands' powerfully focused staging opens the UK's contribution to Ibsen Year 2006... At the heart of this revival is a splendidly spirited performance by Frances Cuka, not the usual stodgy matron struggling with evasions but a mature Mrs Alving, still with a romantic lust for life and a readiness to face unpalatable truths. 

Roger Sansom plays the unctuous but soon to be unsettled Pastor Manders, while Richard Galazka makes a particularly handsome Osvald, whose confrontation with his mother and descent into sickness and apparent death in her arms, brings the play to its powerfully tragic conclusion.  Terry Ashe gives a well-observed, cleverly detailed performance as the dubious carpenter Engstrand, first in a sustained and lively opening scene with Samantha Drew as his bold young daughter Regine, later bringing effective comc playing to his encounter with Sansom's MandersPrav Menon-Johansson's design is a conventional well-furnished living room, giving access to a dining room beyond, a real achievement in the studio's awkward space, even deploying the steps to the theatre bar as part of the setting. 

The British Theatre Guide
John Thaxter

Most recent revivals have provided a field day for directors and designers - Ingmar Bergman among them - leading to ghost effects, spooky lighting, oppressive walls and obtrusive make-up.  So it comes as a relief to see the play given a wholly conventional, naturalistic staging, in a style that would have been familiar to Ibsen and his contemporaries.  Beautifully designed by Prav Menon-Johansson, the playing space is a handsomely furnished living room with a pine floor and Scandinavian stove, giving access to a dining room beyond: no mean feat in the New Wimbledon Studio's usually intractable playing space - even the steps to the theatre bar becoming part of her setting...

Pastor Manders, who goes through a harrowing learning process during the course of an event-filled day, is played with extreme unction, cleverly maintained by Roger Sansom. 

A handsome, promising portrayal of Osvald is given by recent Webber Douglas graduate Richard Galazka, whose tender scene with his mother is here redolent of both Hamlet and Coward's drug-bttered hero in The Vortex, bringing the play to its quietly tragic conclusion as he descends from sickness into a coma and perhaps premature death.  But there is also an unmissable cameo from Terry Ashe, a beautifully detailed compedy performance as the dubious carpenter Engstrand, first in a strongly focused opening encounter with Samantha Dew as his handsome stepdaughter Regine, then running satirical rings round the susceptible Pastor as he gets his wicked way with the unsuspecting prelate. 

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