Ibsen: Peer Gynt, Théâtre National de Nice, 2014 (detail) View full image

Irina Brook's Théâtre national de Nice brings Peer Gynt to London

Peer Gynt reinvented as a preening, booze-fuelled stadium rock god in existential free-fall? Yes, that's what Ibsen's fantasizing, compulsively deceptive loon of hero becomes, in his pot-bellied, narcissistic middle age, in Irina Brook's exhilaratingly bold and thematically penetrating new adaptation of the play.

Performed in English by the Théâtre national de Nice, the production is now visiting the stunning International Ibsen Season at the Barbican where it colonises the vast main stage with a confidence that encompasses, in mood, everything from rude, brawling, sprawling comedy and storming rock and folk (played live by the superbly versatile multi-ethnic ensemble) to moments of charged emotional and philosophical delicacy where you hold your breath and are deafened by the pin-drop hush.

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