Adamson has relocated the action to 1950s England, where, after six weeks alone with her crippled little boy, Rita Affleck welcomes home her husband Alfred. But the arrival of Alfred’s half-sister ruins the craved-for passionate reunion.
Mrs Affleck reunites Adamson with director Marianne Elliott, with whom he had a 2005 NT hit with a new version of Ibsen’s Pillars of the Community. Claire Skinner takes the title role in a cast that also features Angus Wright (Alfred) Naomi Frederick and Josef Altin.
Almost all the overnight critics were united by their misgivings regarding the point of Adamson's updated version. “Why not simply revive Little Eyolf?” asked the Guardian's Michael Billington, echoing the sentiments of many of his colleagues. Despite this, Claire Skinner and Angus Wright drew praise for their portrayal of a marriage in crisis, and Marianne Elliot, although not matching the plaudits for recent NT hit War Horse, was applauded for the “fervent loyalty” apparent in her direction.
- by Theo Bosanquet