Henrik Ibsen

Translated, Designed and Directed by Terje Tveit
Lighting Design by Finnuala McNulty

Rosemary Branch Theatre, London

02 - 20 October 2002


Anouka Brook
Graham Elwell
Imogen Dobbs
Graham Sandry
Valborg Frøysnes
Chris Garwood
Dominic Gately
Paul Hampton
Stephanie Jory
Luke Redmond
Matthew Rutherford
Graham Sandy
Sanna Stellan
Rosalind Stockwell
Xavier Williams


Critic’s Choice - Five Best Productions Nationwide

The Independent

“Pillars of Society was the play that put Ibsen on the international map, and the first to deal with the subjects we now think of as his own: narrow-minded hypocrisy, the effect of buried lies on the present, and the struggle for sexual freedom. Terje Tveit’s accomplished adaptation gives as much weight and emotional urgency as they must have had in 1877. Part of the success relies on the way the large cast is marshalled around the small stage, creating a powerful sense of provincial claustrophobia without ever cramping the space. ... The central performances are simply outstanding. Matthew Rutherford is a model of quiet fear as the businessman Karsten Bernick who sees his world unravel around him, and Anouka Brook gives a complex, beautifully rounded performance as the emancipated woman who wants to hold a mirror to his self-deceptions.”

The Metro

“Ibsen’s Pillars of Society is a dark comedy. However, thanks to an energetic production by the Dale Teater Kompani, it shines brightly. The claustrophobic place of a Norwegian village provides the backdrop against which all the humour and tragedy of the story is played out. In the restricted space of the Rosemary Branch, the atmosphere created is particularly powerful, so much that the break was most welcome when it came. However after 15 minutes, the audience were keen to return for the final act. The performance is sometimes surreal, sometimes hilarious and always disturbing and intense. Director and translator Terje Tveit is clearly aware of the uncomfortable feelings evoked by this intensity and plays on them throughout. Particularly popular with the audience were the manic Mrs Lynge (Imogen Dobbs) and the arch Mrs Rummel (Rosalind Stockwell). Paul Hampton transforms himself from narrator and player to prop in a way that has to be seen to be believed. ... Pillars of strength.”

Hackney Gazette

“Whereas latecomers are usually not admitted until a suitable break, here in the tight confines of this small venue they were more in danger of being swept along with the second wave of entering actors if they dallied too long after curtain-up in the stage’s only access point. Though watching this Dale Teater Kompani production feels a claustrophobic experience, the 15-member strong cast copes well with the limited space and succeeds both in bringing this new translation and the rarely seen Ibsen work to life and building the tensions during the three hours. Given the show’s length, it thankfully boasts enough fine performances to maintain the interest in what is basically the tale of the wheels slowly coming off a small town’s morality. Matthew Rutherford, as the key pillar of society the Consul Karsten Bernick is totally credible as he schemes, agonises and eventually repents his evil ways, while Xavier Williams, as Hilmar Tønnesen - an ailing gossipmonger and somewhat curious dandy - is entertaining every minute he is central to the action. ... A quality fringe offering.”

The Stage