(Andrew Todd’s article, from the Avignon Festival, appeared 7/16/14 in the Guardian.)

Olivier Py‘s first outing as Avignon festival director has been hobbled by bad weather and strikes, in the context of a bitter national renegotiation of theatre workers’ contract status; it has also been dismissed as humdrum and wordy. He might be relieved then, by the awesome, air-clearing thunderclap brought about by Ivo van Hove‘s mammoth production of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

Van Hove puts on stage the philosophical storm surrounding the collective and the individual. He provides a fresh and complex rereading of Ayn Rand’s novel, which has been in danger of becoming a one-line footnote to the neocon revolution. He also creates electrifying theatre in which word and spectacle find a perfect, symbiotic balance.

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