A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Enemy of the People

Enemy of the People
02 April 2024
Duke of York’s Theatre
5.0 out of 5.0 stars

An Enemy Of The People is an intense reimagining of the classic Ibsen play. Thomas Ostermeier expertly directs this version of the play, hurled into contemporary times with intense moments of audience participation and extreme tension.

Dr. Stockmann, embodied intensely by Matt Smith, discovers dangerous bacteria in his local healing baths. But as the young father wants to bring this looming danger to light, the powers that have everything to lose start a campaign against his word. From personal connections over political leaders to the local press, Dr. Stockmann faces a slew of powerful people trying to silence him, pushing him to decide between his life, family, career, and public safety.

The play starts relatively slowly, but quickly gains traction and reveals the lengths those with power and money to lose will go to retain their positions. While the situation on stage intensifies, the audience is left to wonder how they would react in a similar position, would they choose keeping the peace and their former life, or would they risk it all for what they deem to be ethically more important.

When Dr. Stockmann publicly addresses his findings and the reasons for the suppression of such important information in a public town hall setting where he sets of on a lengthy speech that incorporates references to contemporary scandals and mild conspiracy theories, the audience is almost forcibly involved, being confronted with questions about ethics and personal decisions, reactions to the preceding speech and ideas for political change. The discussion is intense, with Priyanga Burford in the role of Aslaksen expertly countering and questioning people’s comments and points of discussion. It is definitely a moment that defines this production of the play, hurtling the audience into the action and encouraging everyone in attendance to question their own morals and standards. A brilliant addition that really makes this production stand out!

Leading to a very bleak and open-ended conclusion of the play that leaves a lot of questions to be answered, it’s one of those shows that stays with you for a very long time. A riveting production with standout acting talent that really gave their all to make each performance an unforgettable one.

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