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Hayley Atwell, Tom Burke
Rosmersholm – Henrik Ibsen's 1886 masterwork
It's on at the Duke of Yorks theatre. It talks about the selfishness of love, which 'makes you a country of two. At war with the rest of the world.’ And it's dazzlingly good. Rosmersholm is an 1886 play by the infamous Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Some say it's his best ever work, only equalled by The Wild Duck, a piece penned just a couple of years earlier.
The protagonist is Rosmer. The theme is social and political change, a scenario where the ruling classes might actually give up their 'right' to impose their standards, ideas, ideals and morals on the rest of us, a right they accept because they happen to be rich and influential. But the message isn't portrayed by a load of politicians and social commentators. It's personal.
The immoral, amoral, free thinking Rebecca is our hero, a woman who is determined to undermine Rosmer's religious and political beliefs. He holds an influential position locally that rebellious Rebecca, who has thrown Christianity out along with its entire ethical system, does not respect. Can Christian ethics survive the death of the Christian religion? At the time it was a big question. Now we know, thanks to recent scientific research, that merely being religious doesn't automatically mean people are more moral, more kind, more honest. As a race we don't actually need religion to stop us descending into moral chaos.
January 2017 saw a new radio adaptation of the play, translated by Frank McGuinness and directed by Peter Kavanagh. It proved extremely popular, so it's no surprise that now, this brilliant play is enjoying a West End come-back. This time around Ian Rickson directs Tom Burke and Hayley Atwell in the West End premiere of a brand new adaptation by Duncan Macmillan.
The plot? There's an election on the cards. The press are hysterical. Rosmersholm, the grand house of an influential dynasty, stands at the centre of the chaos. But John Rosmer is torn between an idealised future and ghosts from the past. The result has been rightfully called a 'twisting thriller'.
Tom Burke, playing Rosmer, is probably best known for his work on Strike and The Musketeers. Hayley Atwell, of Howards End and Captain America fame, plays Rebecca West, a classic Ibsen heroine, enigmatic and free-spirited. And this epic play marks the tenth collaboration between Sonia Friedman Productions and director Ian Rickson.
Who is this show for?
Political and complex, this play is suitable for people aged over 16.
What to expect:Acting
Recommended for:Anyone (33%)
Before the show even starts its clear to see that the staging is striking well designed and well lit, that is backed up really great performances by the main cast once the action starts. The pacing of the show engages whilst driving the narrative along. I would recommend this show for ant=y lovers of quality theatre
Reviewed on 23 July 2019 by Michael, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Tom Burke and Hayley Atwell were phenomenal in their roles, as were the rest of the cast! I was truly captivated by the play and could have watched it over and over again. The crew should also be so proud, the use of lighting to create the sunlight pouring in the windows was so inventive and effective. I feel honoured to have got to see this play. - Gina Luker-Edwards
Reviewed on 20 July 2019 by Gina, Wirksworth, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 19 July 2019 by Tom, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 19 July 2019 by Annette, Berlin, Germany
A faithful yet easy to follow adaption, this production manages to find humour in Ibsen’s classic while also delivering on the hard hitting emotional scenes. A delightful and intimate theatre with welcoming staff, comfortable seating and elegant decor. All the actors are truly exceptional, with sets, props and costumes looking gorgeous too. The subtle use of lighting and music adds to the storytelling beautifully. Overall just an incredible show, a wonderfully crafted expressive portrayal of a very currently relevant story.
Reviewed on 18 July 2019 by Franki, Abergavenny, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 18 July 2019 by Hayley, Nantwich, United Kingdom
Everything from the stage design to the acting was perfect. The lesser known Ibsen play is strangely enough very relevant now. One for the mind to ponder on. An amazing evening.
Reviewed on 17 July 2019 by Karolina, Dublin, Ireland
Reviewed on 10 July 2019 by Debbie, Ottawa, Canada
Thought provoking and very relevant for the present day political situation. A very vibrant production.
Reviewed on 04 July 2019 by Cathy, Potters Bar, United Kingdom
It's not up there with Hedda or A Doll's House, but it has all the essential Ibsen ingredients: dark secrets, repressed desires, psychospirituality in spades... all set in the spooky mansion of Rosmersholm with its supposed ghost. Second half gets a bit weird and Freudian and even Oedipal, with so many skeletons rattling around in the closet it's a bit of a boneyard, but terrific performances and (as ever with Ibsen) some fascinating snapshots of the attitudes of the time
Reviewed on 01 July 2019 by Andrew, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 29 June 2019 by Michele, New York, United States Of America
Bleak view of politics and personal relationships reflecting Ibsen's obsessions and hang-ups perhaps. Some topical themes relating to Brexit which are also depressing!
Reviewed on 28 June 2019 by Francis, London, United Kingdom
Hayley Atwell is very good in this.
Reviewed on 22 June 2019 by Duncan, Haslemere, United Kingdom
Fantastic show with stellar performances. Much of the drama about the politics of the day clearly resonated with the audience. A complex, thought provoking play
Reviewed on 21 June 2019 by Geraldine, London, United Kingdom
This play is a must see for those interested in politics, female empowerment and liberalism. It shows an amazing insight into early politics and the fight for equality from a woman’s perspective, as well as a mans. The acting is truly incredible and is a must see for theatre goers
Reviewed on 20 June 2019 by Emily, Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
Excellent acting of timeless and relevant play.
Reviewed on 19 June 2019 by Helen, Sydney, Australia
A very good first half with remarkable relevance to where we find ourselves politically. The second half either loses its way rather, or it's themes may simply have little or no relevance today. Overall I would recommend with some caution.
Reviewed on 13 June 2019 by Meg, Surbiton, United Kingdom
Lovely theatre with helpful, friendly staff. The show is applicable as much now as when it was written. The actors are brilliant, bringing the show to life. Lots of passion and empathy for the characters. Credit to the lighting crew and director - a simple light change changes everything!
Reviewed on 12 June 2019 by Susan, Leicester, United Kingdom
This play was of the very highest standard, the quality of acting was as good as I’ve seen on any stage, in particular Hayley Atwell who was sublime tmw deep and complex role. It is amazing how a play written over 120 years ago, could seem as if it’s s topical commentary on today’s political situation, struck so many chords with the audience who picked up every line that resonated. Theatre of the highest standard!
Reviewed on 12 June 2019 by Steve, New Tredegar, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 10 June 2019 by Lucy, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 09 June 2019 by Sanja, London, United Kingdom
Fabulous play with many connections with current events... but incredibly tragic and perhaps not one to watch if you are depressed! Brilliantly staged in a lovely theatre.... the deep stage worked so well for the play and the existence of the mill wheel was cleverly suggested. Its power and importance in the tragedy were awesome at the end! Thank you to all involved for such a memorable evening which will stay with me for a long time to come.
Reviewed on 06 June 2019 by Angela, Haslemere, United Kingdom
Awesome actors, emotional script!
Reviewed on 29 May 2019 by Eveline, Horn, Austria
Tightly written and acted with topical references. First class performance from lead actors. Eat before you go to the theatre, there are minimal facilities at this historic London theatre
Reviewed on 29 May 2019 by Lizzie, Gunnersbury, United Kingdom
The play is so well acted and the drama so real that you find yourself emotionally exhausted at the end. The resonances with today’s politics are all too clear for comfort and the personal emotions almost overwhelming. I felt that I had had a real night at the theatre!
Reviewed on 28 May 2019 by Victoria, Sydney Nsw, Australia
Very intense play but worth going to see if you spend a lot of time at the theatre.
Reviewed on 28 May 2019 by Wendy, London, United Kingdom
For both devotees and newcomers to Ibsen this is a splendid play wonderfully performed.Its modern relevance produced rueful laughter and there was the familiar concern with socio/political issues coupled with the deeply personal psychology of certainly the two chief characters. Ibsen never ages and one comes away with plenty to think about.
Reviewed on 23 May 2019 by Gerald, Exeter, United Kingdom
very well acted show gave plenty of food for thought
Reviewed on 22 May 2019 by Isabel, London, United Kingdom
Dark thrilling funny and gripping theatre. Excellent sets and costumes and wonderful acting
Reviewed on 22 May 2019 by Isabel, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 21 May 2019 by Peter, Royston, United Kingdom
A strongly social and political play, in a similar mould to An Enemy of the People and The Master Builder, with decidedly feminist and psychological over-tones. It is, perhaps not surprising, that it is more relevent to these feebrile times than it would have been some decades ago. I feel that the translation has 'modernised' parts of the dialogue which gave easier laughs but lessened the power of the play? Don't miss it!
Reviewed on 18 May 2019 by John, London, United Kingdom
Although written before the end of the nineteenth century, the themes in Rosmersholm are still relevant. And oddly, the surprising candour with which the characters expose their views ad fears - are now rarely seen - sadly
Reviewed on 15 May 2019 by Madeleine, Sydney, Australia
Reviewed on 14 May 2019 by Elena, Ann Arbor, United States Of America
Very good production of excellent play, if a little too "modernised".
Reviewed on 12 May 2019 by Peter, London, United Kingdom
It's a brilliant play! Unmissable.
Reviewed on 11 May 2019 by Phil, London, United Kingdom
Reviewed on 04 May 2019 by Dogan, Dalston, United Kingdom
Period play with parallels in modern world, politics, religion, societal conventions and love. Excellent performances from Tom Burke and Hayley Atwell. Good set and costumes.
Reviewed on 27 April 2019 by Anne, Darlington, United Kingdom
I Love dark and secretive plays and this Ibsen delivered once more!!!
Reviewed on 26 April 2019 by Alexander, Winterthur, Switzerland
by Marian Pashley | Thursday, May 2 2019, 13:22
The curtain rises to reveal a stunningly detailed and evocative set, the interior of a hauntingly shadowed and seemingly twilit, dust sheet covered room. The walls were hung with many partially obscured portraits, the wooden floors looked ancient and worn to smoothness.Review: ROSMERSHOLM at The Duke of York's