“Wild Duck” Review

I saw this a couple of weeks ago at the Donmar Warehouse.

The production was beautifully designed. A wonderful set, including the attic home of the bird of the title, was flawlessly lit. But the performances exceeded the technical standard. Ben Daniels, as Gregers, was sympathetic in the genuine affection for Hjalmar which masks his extremist zeal in his pursuit of the “claim of the ideal”. Paul Hilton emphaised the passion and sincerity of the otherwise slightly ridiclous Hjalmar , and Sinead Matthews (who recently was so excellent as Dolly in “You Never Can Tell”) is wondeful as the youthful Hedvig. And the always excellent Nicholas Le Prevost did not fail to disappoint as the drunkard Relling.

Afterwards my friends, better aquainted than I with Ibsen, tried to reconcile the play with Ibsen’s faith in truth is a force for good as expressed in his other works. I’ve only seen “A Doll’s House” (last year, with Tara Fitzgerald) and I can see this. But this production left me feeling entirely unsympathetic to the claim of the ideal. I felt fully persuaded by Relling and his manifesto for the bliss of ignorance…

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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