An Enemy of The People

Reviews of the Los Angeles Production 
(July 15 - September 6, 1998)

 

The New York Times
August 4, 1998

"Doctor vs. Mob in a Poisoned Environment"

"McKellen's crafty performance has set up motives that go deeper than moral indignation for this descent into fury."

"McKellen also creates a portrait of a manic, brilliant naif conditioned by a life of rivalry with his brother, Peter (Stephen Moore), the town's mayor, and of being indulged and admired by those around him."

"McKellen is in his well-known extroverted mode, as opposed to the more subtle, inward-looking style of his brilliant "Macbeth" and "Uncle Vanya," but the expansiveness is appropriate here. The doctor is, after all, a bit of a showoff, enchanted by the affection his absent-minded-professor persona and boyish enthusiasm inspire in others and given to taking over any room he inhabits. This Stockmann is also, however, clearly wound too tightly . . . his effusive geniality is streaked with eruptions of temper and impatience with his wife, Katrine (the excellent Charlotte Cornwell), and grown daughter, Petra (Isabel Pollen). "

"There are also first-rate supporting performances from Paul Higgins, as the editor of the left-leaning town newspaper, and Pip Donaghy, a printer and committed union man. The men are an entertaining study in temperamental contrasts, the firebrand belligerence of the one set off by the fluttery, propitiatory manner of the other."

 

USA Today, July 28, 1998

"Right now Angelenos have exclusive access to a major event: the great classical actor Ian McKellen in Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People."

"McKellen's portrayal of the doctor has been called his best role.  That's like naming Picasso's best painting. . . . His characterization is notable for its emotional expansiveness, but mostly he's scrupulously un-showy, never losing his disheveled, socially inept academic manner even as his ideals curdle into petty sniping."

"Stephen Moore's masterful portrayal of the mayor has a grandfatherly benevolence that masks cutthroat politics."

"Theater lovers within shouting distance, or with frequent-flier miles to spare, shouldn't miss it."

Hollywood Reporter, July 24, 1998

"If you're ever going to see Ibsen, this is the production not to be missed. . . . Most of all, we have a brilliant turn from McKellen.  His stubbornly defiant doctor is no talking head or cardboard mouthpiece . . . McKellen gives us a warmhearted, playful, almost childlike intellectual full of so many tics and tantalizing tensions that the character's inner decency is as richly displayed as his outer life is impassioned"

"An 'Enemy' for Our Troubled Era" July 24, 1998

"An Enemy of the People remains enduringly relevant. British director Trevor Nunn chose the play as his debut production when he took charge of the Royal National Theatre last year. Now, Los Angeles is fortunate to host its only U.S. engagement. . . .

"The excellent Stephen Moore plays Peter Stockman . . . His apple-cheeked, gray-haired demeanor and wire-rimmed glasses give him the look of a kindly grandfather, which he uses brilliantly to hide his ruthlessness."

"Ralph Nosseck is also very impressive as Stockmann's father-in-law."

"An Enemy of the People ends on a jarring, apocalyptic note, with a dramatic set transformation and the feeling of a world crumbling beneath our feet, with fear and chaos ahead. Call it fin de siecle neurosis or showmanship, but Nunn has given us a new window  into Ibsen and shown us that the moral morass of the last century belongs now entirely to us."

"Enemy of the People" Lives Large, July 24, 1998

Variety, July 24, 1998


Reviews of the London Production 
(September 1997 - April 1998)

Click Here for the New York Times Review "In Christopher Hampton's dynamic translation, Ibsen's tale of one man's dogged pursuit of corruption and his attempt to eradicate the "spiritual poison" of society strikes a chilling chord. Trevor Nunn's characteristically panoramic production, superbly realised with John Napier's complex set, invokes a strong feeling that one is witnessing a real slice of life. This is largely due to a quite extraordinary performance by Ian McKellen, a true driving force in an evocative, often very funny and ultimately tragic play." - What's On in London.
 

"Trevor Nunn's production of "An Enemy of the People" is little short of superb, for it gives both a big, rich public play and the private drama of two men locked in rivalry." - London Times

"A tale of corruption, greed and the responsibility of the press, Ibsen's 1882 masterpiece is as up-to-date as this morning's headlines." - News of the World.

"A rich teeming production of Ibsen's great play of public morality...a great evening" - UK Daily Mail.

"Stockmann is brilliantly portrayed by Ian McKellen." - UK Independent

"Trevor Nunn's big-budget re-staging of Ibsen opens out the action like a movie director. John Napier designs a backdrop of scudding clouds and dark hills, in front of which he places a Norwegian seaside town. McKellen gives an inspired portrayal of the moral Dr Stockmann." - UK Independent on Sunday