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Ibsen isn’t exactly renowned for his sense of humour but this rarely performed work, written when he was in his 20s, shows that the Norweigian playwright did have some sense of fun.

Poorly received when it premiered in 1853, Ibsen refused to have it printed in collected editions of his work. All credit to this enterprising little theatre, then, for putting on what purports to be its first full professional staging in this country.

That’s not to say that this whimsical tale of missing documents and mismatched lovers, which mocks the naïve city intruder experiencing the joys of native tradition, is by any stretch of the imagination a masterpiece though.

Louise Calf has a winning naivety as Anne, Ed Birch's Birk matches her sincerity as her stepsister’s reluctant fiancé, and Danny Lee Wynter, in incongruous curly blond wig, hams it up as the ridiculous poet Poulsen who’s surprised to discover that grassy ground can be muddy as well as green.

With  a couple of musical goblins, a worried widow (Sara Crowe)  and a big debt to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Anthony Biggs’ production is hardly a revelation but, performed with tongue-in-cheek frivolity by a lively cast, it’s gently enjoyable whilst it lasts.

Jermyn Street Theatre, SW1Y 6ST
Tube | Piccadilly Circus
Until 4 August, £18
 jermynstreettheatre.co.uk

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