(Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/16.)
"Do you think Shaw is coming back?" a student once rashly asked the late Oxford Playhouse director Frank Hauser. "I didn't know he'd been away," was Hauser's sharp reply. Much the same applies to Henrik Ibsen. You can't really talk about an Ibsen revival since, in the near-half-century I've been reviewing theatre, his plays have hardly ever been off the British stage. What's unusual is to have three new productions arriving in a week: A Doll's House opened last Monday at the Young Vic, swiftly followed by Hedda Gabler at the Royal and Derngate in Northampton; then, last Thursday, a comparative rarity: his early play St John's Night at London's Jermyn Street theatre.