Reviews

Review: Little Eyolf at Print Room at the Coronet, London

 

Exhilarating Ibsen from Norway’s National Theatre

“It is the fashion these days to strip Ibsen to the bone. This exhilarating production from Norway’s National Theatre – played in Norwegian with surtitles – is very much in the modern mode. It runs, like Richard Eyre’s 2015 Almeida version, for a brisk 85 minutes, and is played in modern dress with mostly bare feet and minimal furniture. It leaves you, as all good Ibsen should, quietly shattered.

Guilt is the prevailing theme as Rita and Alfred Allmers try to repair a marriage already haunted by the accident that happened to their boy, Eyolf, when they were preoccupied in making love. What is especially striking about Sofia Jupither’s production is its realisation of Ibsen’s sexual candour. Pia Tjelta’s Rita can hardly keep her hands off Kåre Conradi’s withdrawn Alfred as he returns from a six-week walking tour in the mountains and unbuttons his shirt with frenzy. Alfred’s passion for his half-sister, Asta, is more decorously expressed but no less intense. The most shocking revelation comes when we learn that Alfred, who used to call Asta “Little Eyolf”, cried out that name at a moment of orgasm with his wife. Written in 1894, the play emerges as both breathtakingly honest and the ancestor of soul-baring modern dramas by Eugene O’Neill, Tennessee Williams and Edward Albee.

Jupither’s production also brings out Ibsen’s grim humour. When Tjelta’s superb Rita, a Lady Macbeth of the fjords, announces that she intends to devote herself to looking after neglected children, one’s initial response is that the police should be alerted. Conradi captures perfectly Alfred’s self-regarding intellectualism, and there is fine support from Ine Jansen as an anguished Asta and from Andrine Sæther, who turns the symbolic figure of the Rat-Wife, sensing something troublesome gnawing away in the house, into a hippy Pied Piper. This is Ibsen with the gloves off, and the only sadness is that the production was given a bare three-night run. Someone should invite this company back to give us an extended Ibsen season.”

**** Michael Billington, The Guardian (20 April 2018)

Reviews: Little Eyolf at The National Theatre of Norway

 

“Pia Tjelta and Kåre Conradi succeed in an unusually clear Little Eyolf.”
Dagbladet

“Merciless on complacency”
***** VG

“When Little Eyolf ends in a black with a glimmer of hope that both shakes and pains,
it is an Ibsen-triumph of which Jupither from all of her heart can thank Tjelta and Conradi.”
Dagsavisen

“An extraordinarily well played and musical production of Little Eyolf.”
Aftenposten

Reviews: The Open-Air Peer Gynt Performances

 

with Kåre Conradi, Theatre Ibsen, Masken Theatre Group & The Royal Navy Orchestra

Tønsberg Blad writes:

“Grounded Peer Gynt”

“Kåre Conradi has been assigned the role of Peer, who is self-sufficient through thick and thin, in everything. He carries the role effortlessly all the way through to the last sentence. Peer is on stage almost constantly, and it’s a real tour de force. Conradi with Sylvia Salvesen (mother Aase) makes her moment of death one of the many emotional moments in the show. It is beautifully done through a little dance, and thankfully not in the sled as we’ve seen so many times before. Conradi acts so that we are spellbound by his storytelling, he lies so well that we believe in him. He is an amazing actor, musical to his fingertips.”

Gjengangeren writes:

“Humor, insanity and slightly vulgar”

“Kåre Conradi drives game forward with great energy and unmatched enthusiasm, he engages and moves and makes us forget that we are slightly cramped, that Ibsen uses a long time getting his message across and that the summer is undeniably about to turn into fall.”

Telemark Arbeiderblad writes:

“Moving and lush Peer Gynt”

“Before the nearly three-hour performance is finished, it is clear that Peer in Kåre Conradi’s hardworking character has the ability to engage us once again.”

Vestfold Blad writes:

“Magnificent premiere of Peer Gynt”

“Kåre Conradi starred as Peer when Peer Gynt premiered on Wednesday night in front of a packed grandstand at Karljohansvern in Horten.”

Reviews: Kåre Conradi’s One-Man Show

Andreas Wiese, Dagbladet, on About Peer:

“Kåre Conradi is an excellent actor and story teller. In English as well. (…) The show demonstrates that Conradi is an outstanding actor – there are abrupt turns in a wide field of expression, narrative theatre without being hollow or inflated theatrical. This is a showcase where Conradi gets to show his versatility, while we get served the story of Peer Gynt. Everything within an unpretentious hour, executed in very high quality.”

Jan E. Hansen, Aftenposten, on Kåre Conradi’s one-man-show Peer Gynt:

“He makes the words his own, not by applying his own signature and outstaging Ibsen’s, but by letting them live through an actor’s body and mind. He engages in the text both naturally and lyrically with a sensitive understanding for Peer and his fate; he identifies with the life-struggle and the characters, and doesn’t use his own humour and irony other than to spice up the short summaries when connecting directly with the audience. In other words, he doesn’t use Ibsen to expose his talent, but his talent to expose Ibsen.

Nancy Napper-Canter, writer for Broadway Baby:

“His obvious enthusiasm for this Norwegian classic makes him the perfect person to relay it; he’s a story-mediator as well as teller. (…) He reminded me of a lecturer – a talented, devoted lecturer, whose passion for his subject is palpable. Conradi’s research is obvious; he’s even been to several of the places where the play is set. It’s not difficult for Conradi to bring this material to life. Much of it, it seems, is his life.

With his warm voice and friendly demeanour, Conradi creates a nicely intimate atmosphere. (…) Despite his manifest expertise, Conradi’s not pompous with his interpretations. What’s more, Conradi doesn’t claim to have all the answers. It’s endearingly low-key, but there are also moments of drama. Frequently running around the stage, Conradi even climbs the lighting rig to emphasize Peer’s heightened emotion as he falls in lust. Energetic and compelling, Conradi’s a natural storyteller.”

Lesley Riddoch award winning journalist (Scotsman and Guardian), commentator and broadcaster writes:

“Kåre stars in a one man exploration of ‘Peer Gynt’, as you have never seen it before. This is the first production from the newly founded Norwegian Ibsen Company. Using just one prop and a mixture of monologue and soliloquy Kåre opens up Henrik Ibsen’s classic Norwegian tale in English to a whole new audience. I’ve seen this – a brilliant performance and perhaps the first time I both understood the Ibsen play AND the way it reflects Norwegian thinking.”