A star-studded new production of Ibsen’s Rosmersholm has just opened at the Duke of York’s Theatre in London’s West End.
The cast is led by Tom Burke, known for his roles in television’s The Musketeers, War & Peace, and as Cormoran Strike in Strike, the BBC adaptation of J K Rowling’s detective novels.
He is joined by Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter in the Avengers film franchise, Christopher Robin) and Olivier Award-winning actor Giles Terera (Hamilton).
Critics have called their performances inspiring, with the Evening Standard saying that the cast bring “a galvanising combination of clarity and emotional intensity” to the play.
Rosmersholm is a complex, political thriller. It was written in 1886 yet seems highly topical.
The action takes place at a time of political upheaval and centres on a battle between radicals and reactionaries over democracy and ideals.
Henrik Ibsen set the play in the ancestral home of a young widowed aristocrat called John Rosmer (Burke).
Rosmer wants to reject the values of his family and dreams of a new socialist future. But an election has been called and the right-wing press are fuelling the rise of a populist movement. Who will earn his vote?
Rosmer’s personal life is equally torn between his love for his late wife and a new passion for Rebecca (Atwell), the woman who was her companion.
“There’s a lot of political noise going on,” Burke has said, “and there’s talk of Left and Right, radicals and conservatives, and in the middle of that there are Rosmer and Rebecca.
“People who are trying to find a future for everybody beyond mud-slinging.”
Atwell has also talked of how she feels the play connects to the current mood. “It does feel like we are in a bit of a sham democracy at the moment,” she has said. “This is very much a play for our time.”
Rosmersholm is directed by Ian Rickson and adapted by Duncan Macmillan, who wrote the award-winning People, Places and Things.