Review: Ibsen in Chicago

Crowd-pleasing with surprising hilarity, David Grimm’s world premiere of Ibsen in Chicago is captivating audiences at the Seattle Repertory Theatre this season.

(Image Credit: Seattle Repertory Theatre)

Scandinavian immigrants, when no other theater would dare, premiered Henrik Ibsen’s controversial play Ghosts in Chicago in 1882. Grimm’s comical take on their story was commissioned and directed by the Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director, Braden Abraham.

With the multi-level stage, period-correct clothing (designed by GW Mercier), and perfectly cast roles, Grimm’s tale consumed the audience within the first scene. Each of the six characters had a unique way of grasping your attention with relatable and heartfelt challenges.

The lead characters, Henning and Helga, begin the story by inspecting a space they sought to turn into a theatre. They soon put together a rag-tag cast and begin conditioning themselves and the run-down space for the big premier. These seemless performances were provided with confidence as each character discovered themselves individually and complemented each other as a whole.

With questionable language and a moment of partial nudity, Grimm weaves together an all-encompassing story that feeds you multiple dynamics. No character went unnoticed, the well-constructed dialogue tangled humor into the dark truths of our historical social isssues, and left you not only without a happy ending (true to the Ibsen way), but wanting more.


If you’re ready to experience a heartwarming historical parody, I’d recommend checking this out while you can. Get your tickets for Ibsen in Chicago on the Seattle Rep website, playing until March 4th.


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