16th June 2011
Henrik Ibsen’s Emperor and Galilean opened to the press and public last night at the National Theatre (Olivier).
It has been a profound experience being involved in such a monumental work. An undeniably epic and a very brave and well achieved production by Ben Power, the National Theatre, Jonathan Kent and his cast and creative team. I can’t think of another team that would be equal to it.
Reviews are out and, much as predicted, they either love it or hate it.
Here is a selection, starting with an early tweet from previews:
Sophie Waghorn“really enjoyed emperorandgalilean, Andrew Scott is fantastic as Julian.The sets and visuals are brilliant! everyone needs to see it!”
It is […] breathtakingly staged. Paul Brown’s design makes brilliant use of the Olivier’s drum-revolve to whisk us from Ephesian cellars to Gallic plains and Persian deserts. Modern costumes and film of aerial bombardment underscore the topicality of a play that deals both with Middle Eastern conflict and the struggle to achieve a world beyond faith.
These great events and rigorous journeys are played out on a monumental set that thrillingly exploits the Olivier’s mechanics, back projections and costumes mixing the fourth century with the twenty-first to draw uneasy parallels. Not an easy evening, but rewarding one.
Paul Brown’s design [makes] copious use of the drum revolve and screen projections, Jonathan Dove’s music and a cast of more than 50 show what can be done on the Olivier stage.
Jonathan Kent’s production is a feast for the eyes. The rich, operatic staging is brought to colossal life by Paul Brown’s design that sees the Olivier’s revolve stage put to full use. Everything from the Persian desert to Athens, gruesome, bloody sacrificial temples and modest churches are created with the help of Knifedge’s video projections and Mark Henderson’s atmospheric lighting.
[…]there are some spectacular computer-generated graphics, which deliberately subvert time with anachronisms such as tanks and helicopters. The whole looks lavish and is consistently engrossing.
A few stunning performances and some awesome visuals create an overwhelming performance that deserves a large round of applause at final curtain call