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The Independent (London)
22 October 1995, Sunday

By Robert Butler


In Ibsen's play The Master Builder, which is steeped in the playwright's
personal concerns, a young woman, Hilde, arrives at the home of a successful
architect and inspires him to fatal new heights. It's a horrible part to
play. You are clearly representative of something else. A spirit, a
life-force. Then you have to act as interlocutor to a colossally self-
absorbed playwright, sorry, architect.

Remarkable then, that the outstanding aspect of Peter Hall's new production
is Victoria Hamilton's performance as Hilde. It's her first West End role.
She strides through the front door, wearing walking boots and carrying a
rucksack, with a suddenness and immediacy that is quite unselfconscious.
The opposite, in fact, to Alan Bates as the architect, who is thoroughly
modern. He gives an immensely attractive, fidgety performance - flicking his
curly hair, drumming his fingers, tugging at his ear lobe - but his manner
is histrionic, his voice constantly aware of contradictions and ironies. The
difference in performance is reflected in the production, which hovers
between the realistic and the metaphysical without plumping for either.

(Submitted by Tara)