Theatre review: The Lady from the Sea at the Courtyard

PUBLISHED: 18:48 17 January 2013 | UPDATED: 18:48 17 January 2013

The Lady from the Sea at the Courtyard

The Lady from the Sea at the Courtyard


A spirited production of Henrik Ibsen’s chilly tale of lighthouse keeper’s daughter

Henrik Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea is a chilly study of free will, romance and the illusions of memory.

It is set in a small town in Norway where Ellida, the daughter of a lighthouse keeper, is a troubled lady.

Married to Dr Wangel, she loves the sea and is tormented by memories of her former life, when she was once deeply in love with, and engaged to, a sailor.

He vanished after murdering his captain at sea and she is haunted by his departure. Then suddenly he returns, leaving Ellida facing a tough decision.

In the background, there are complicated entanglements with Dr Wangel and Ellida’s children and their relationships with both a former teacher and a gentleman with a terminal illness.

Clearly, this is all rather uplifting stuff. Thankfully, this production is imbued with enough humour to make light work of the weighty themes bubbling away.

The staging and direction are simple but effective. The audience is placed around the stage, enveloping the action and removing the barrier between actors and audience members.

The male members of the cast excel, with special mention to Glenn Speers as Dr Wangel, and Paul Giles as Lyngstrand.

This is a spirited production, falling only just short from being a complete success. There is a fine line between competent and outstanding, and this is a production that sits a few tweaks away from the latter. Until January 20.

* The Lady From The Sea is at The Courtyard in Bowling Green Walk, N1, until January 20.

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