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Enemy Of The People review: Impressive, witty and memorable production

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A scene from Enemy of the People by Schaubuhne Berlin theatre group

A scene from Enemy of the People by Schaubuhne Berlin theatre group

A scene from Enemy of the People by Schaubuhne Berlin theatre group

Watching a contemporary politically-tooled five-act German rendering of Ibsen in the Opera House with subtitles may seem just a shade to the left of West Side Story.

But this stunning production of Enemy Of The People from Schaubühne Berlin was the most exhilarating piece of theatre you'll see all year.

The original premise of Ibsen is relocated to a struggling German town which enjoys the prospect of becoming the only spa-town and the biggest tourist attraction for miles.

The only thing is, there's a problem in the water. What unfolds is an unforgiving, unblinking examination of the hypocrisy and self-delusions that we all practise in order to maintain what passes for order in our blinkered lives.

A parable of lost idealism, compromise and the illusion of choice is played out by an impressive ensemble cast.

They themselves add to the detailed blackboard set with chalkings that provide witty visual asides and flourishes to the narrative, culminating in a stupendously jarring, symbolic group whitewashing before the climax.

It isn't all stark lighting, impressionistic stage craft and didacticism however. There's also jokes, slapstick, a touch of farce and some bloody great tunes.

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They all serve as devices to propel and shape the essentially classic tale of small town corruption and collective complicity "for the greater good" into strikingly profound and memorable theatre.

Four stars


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