The Master Builder (Chichester)
But Edgar's punchy version sticks faithfully the plot of Ibsen's original – albeit a little more colloquial than usual. Ibsen’s later plays are a departure from the more naturalistic dramas but Edgar and director Philip Franks, manage to inject a little life into it.
Consequently, Naomi Frederick's Hilde is decidedly more modern than we're used to seeing. Ibsen had conjured up a free-willed spirit, Frederick's interloper is more down to earth, perhaps losing some of the sense of mystery – what did Solness really promise her?
Michael Pennington's raffish Solness needs little encouragement however. Looking rather like Lloyd George, he has certainly has the element of flirtatiousness. What I found was missing though was the fear of the young and the fear that his powers are waning. There's a lovely performance from Maureen Beattie as Solness's wife, her demeanour encapsulating the life of loss and suffering.
It’s a pity about the rather curious score from Matthew Scott, incorporating the sound of children. While the Solness’s loss is a major feature of the play, it’s not Turn of the Screw and it sounds oddly out of place.
- Maxwell Cooter