A 1994 Edinburgh hit now transferring to London, the piece starts off in a highly stylised naturalistic way, played with hilarious earnestness. Gradually, lines are repeated, echoed and fractured while the cast begin throwing themselves around the stage with abandon, combining textual creativeness and sheer kinetic energy. From then on, Volcano's four extraordinary performers hold the attention with charismatic ease, stripping bare the theatrical illusion and bitching about each other before stepping smartly back into character.
Perhaps it is unfair to choose a star from such a uniformly strong team, but the superb Jane Arnfield's unforgettable scene involving a filing cabinet full of plastic babies has the audience crying with laughter. The wonder of How To Live is that it plays with Ibsen's drama without parodying it; the magical ending preserves in full the poetry of his best work. Why should you go to see it? Here's what director Nigel Charnock says: "We thought people might see the title and say, `Oh, that might tell me how to live'. And indeed it does - or at least, it gives you a few clues."
Opens tonight, 7.30pm, Watermans Arts Centre, 40 High Street, Brentford (081-568 1176) £8.50/£5.50 concs. To 25 MarReuse content