Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Master Builder


I went home last weekend and, as a birthday treat, my Mum booked us and my godfamily tickets to see The Master Builder at The Old Vic theatre. I've written countless times about how much I love going to the theatre, there really is nothing like a day out going to see actors do what they do best, live. The Old Vic is my absolute favourite theatre as it's just so beautiful and, looking back on all the plays I've been lucky enough to see there, I've not seen a single bad production.

Mum has always been great at buying us tickets for productions I'd never think to go to myself and, in that way, she opens my eyes to shows and themes I'd likely never have given a chance without her - I have so much to thank her for. The Master Builder was no exception to this.

Written by Henrik Ibsen, the play is about, unsurprisingly a master builder (essentially a self-taught architect), the loss he has experienced throughout his life, and how that has come to affect his relationships. Although not an entirely uplifting tale, the play gives an incredible insight into how relationships can come to be damaged and people can come to be broken.

I know that may not exactly sell the play to you but I've found that perceiving and understanding darkness and struggles can help you to truly appreciate the light. A cliche that may be but seeing plays such as these always make me think long after they're finished, and isn't that the sign of experiencing truly exceptional art?

What I really thought was outstanding about this play was, unexpectedly, the set. I only say this is unexpected as I've never noticed how substantially a theatre production's set can impact the quality of the play. In no other production I've seen has the set been so foundational to the story's message and emotion. The Master Builder is worth seeing for that alone in my opinion. However, on top of this, the acting was impeccable. Getting to see Ralph Fiennes in his element was a true privilege and he acted with the rest of the cast just seamlessly.

When the play had finished my Mum said it's the best play she's seen in a very long time and still, three days after, can't stop talking about it. That may not mean much to many, but my Mum has seen a huge number of theatre productions during her life and I can think of no one who I personally know that possesses more knowledge and experience than her of what makes a play great. High praise indeed then, coming from her!

All in all, it was a wonderful day out and such a lovely birthday present from my Mum. The Master Builder is on until the 19th March and I would highly recommend seeing it if you get a chance!

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