A Dream Play

Stage

A Dream Play
Oxford Playhouse
Wed Feb 16th-19th

Tickets: £9.50-14.50
5 Stars

August Strindberg’s A Dream Play, directed by Griffith Rees, opens at The Playhouse on
February 16th and watching it gives you the same quiet satisfaction that only the sweetest
dreams can evoke.

The play moves between our reality and that of a god, Indra and his daughter Agnes.
Agnes’ desire to experience life on earth as human beings do, goes against her father’s
judgment and soon she learns that life is not just made up of the beautiful symphonies she
hears and the laughter of children, but has it’s drudgery and pain as well. She is trapped
by a series of doors and forced to examine the consequences of her actions in a time old
tale of “be careful what you wish for”.

Ali Walsh was suitably irritating as the angst-ridden daughter begging her father to
understand her desire for freedom. The actress shows range when she encounters
friends and lovers on earth, and her jumpy over the top performance with her onstage
father, moderates itself to a quiet intensity when called for later on. Ollo Clark has a
commanding presence as Alfie, Agnes’ love interest. Clark is a natural talent who is also
assistant director to the production.

All life is here, from the gods to the mere mortals portrayed as a middle-aged couple by
Glesni Euros and Jean-Patrick Vieu. Euros shows maturity in her role and steals the scene
from Ali Walsh when she contemplates her own mortality and leaving her family behind.
Comic relief is personified in the form of Rhys Bevan as The Builder, and Agnes’ guide
in her new world. He gives an understated performance that is natural and amusing.

Dance and music feature heavily in the play without being at all jarring. They help to
evoke that dream-like sensation that anything could happen. The set is a fantasyland
suggesting castle walls and doors like Rapunzel or Labyrinth.

A Dream Play is sure to be a feast for the eyes and ears. Three dancing angels regularly
appear at protagonist Agnes’ side, to protect her and move her through worlds. The
choreography is beautiful and well executed.

With a small orchestra for live music, dance sequences and an arresting set, as well as
strong performances and clear direction, this is the play of the term.

Catherine Higgins