Epic journey reaches moving climax

Peer Gynt @ UEA, Norwich.

Peer Gynt @ UEA, Norwich

By JOHN SMART

Peer Gynt by the great Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen, presents a tremendous challenge for director and cast. Part fantasy, part folk tale, part epic journey of a soul, it is a poetic drama that demands imaginative treatment.

The Icelandic student director Trausti Olafsson, showed instinctive sympathy for the play in his production at the UEA Drama Studio. He cut the story to show the main lines of Peer's life and his search for his real self.

The mood changes of the play were powerfully shown by some colourful and sensitive lighting effects (James Kloda). What the play lacked at times was intensity and pace. The trolls who should have been menacing looked and moved as if they were in a poorish disco.

Richard Gee, however as the young Peer Gynt, commanded the stage with a performance that reflected the likeable energy of the youthful hero. His middle-aged counterpart (Jonny Goddard), was especially moving as the disillusioned wanderer.

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Music from Grieg to Schubert to music composed by the cast underlined well the moods of the play. The final tableau of the hero in old age saved by his lover's faithfulness was a moving, still moment.

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