A world premiere in English, the presentation of The Feast at Solhaug, an early drama by Henrik Ibsen, was an exciting event at the Barons Court Theatre. The tiny, stone-lined space proved perfect for the historical saga, set in Norway during the Middle Ages.
The play is centred around Margit, a forerunner of Ibsen’s later powerful heroines like Nora Helmer and Hedda Gabler, who is trapped in a marriage to a man she despises. When her sister Signe comes to stay, followed by her ex-lover Gudmund, Margit faces a dilemma as Signe and Gudmund fall in love and hope to marry. Will Margit try to grasp her chance at happiness, or will she selflessly stand back in favour of her sister?
Directed by Mark Ewbank and Holly Prescott, the production is an atmospheric, powerful one, steeped in Norse folklore. There are some strong performances from the excellent cast, particularly Lucy Pickles as the complex Margit, whose passion and suffering comes to the fore at the end of the play. The Feast At Solhaug was always going to be an unmissable event for Ibsen fans, but the strong story and superb cast make it a good choice for the general theatregoer too.