Monday, November 15, 2010

John Gabriel Borkman at the Abbey

I was bored out of my tiny mind. This was stodgy, stagey old-fashioned theatre. The script by Frank McGuinness seemed stilted and occasionally clunky ("This disgrace breaks me to the bone") but that wasn't the crucial factor. My problem was believing in the central premise of the play - the battle for the heart and mind of Erhart. The concerns and mores of bourgeois Norway in the 19th Century don't carry enough of the universal to engage the interest. There were of course echoes of our own banking crisis in Borkman's plight - but these were peripheral to the main action. The set was impressive and the acting of the female characters was mighty fine - especially the gorgeous Lindsay Duncan. Even Fiona Shaw impressed, managing to harness her customary histrionics. I wasn't that taken by Alan Rickman's interpretation of Borkman - too low-key and mannered. And speak up man for God's sake.