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The Lady From The Sea (Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Ellida (Neve McIntosh), the daughter of a lighthouse keeper who is the second (and much younger) wife of Dr Wangel (Reece Dinsdale). Ellida is a fan of the sea and spends much of her time, swimming and gazing at the water; leading to the locals regarding her as an oddity, the title Lady of the Sea - a mocking title more than one of affection.

The step mother of Dr Wangel’s two daughters, Bolette (Sara Vickers) and Hilde (Catrin Stewart) Ellida is a troubled soul, not fully committed to her marriage to Dr Wangel and has known suffering. Her world is further turned upside down by the return of the Stranger (Bill Ward) to whom she was engaged previously but disappeared from her life; gone away to sea and to whom she is inexplicably drawn.  Both fascinated and tormented by this man Ellida must choose between her husband and this mysterious man from her past.

Exploring the idea of personal freedom within marriage to make decisions and the way the mind can distort memories and make a person feel compelled to act a certain way is beautifully explored in David Eldridge’s adaptation Ibsen's classic. 

Beautifully performed by a faultless cast; McIntosh is delightfully anguished and Dinsdale supportive yet distraught at his wife’s behaviour; my only criticism is of Ibsen himself. This piece feels somewhat drawn out, as Ibsen over-eggs the point on several occasions and the result is that some scenes are unnecessarily repetitive.

Thankfully though, this beautiful production does enough to compensate and overall, is a pleasure to behold.

- Ruth Lovett


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