Fanny And Alexander: An Eloquent And Moving Swedish Feast

Fanny and Alexander, Old Vic ★★★★☆

By Chris Bridges Last edited 9 months ago

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Fanny And Alexander: An Eloquent And Moving Swedish Feast Fanny and Alexander, Old Vic 4
Photo: Manuel Harlan

Think of Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and you might think of lengthy, doom-laden, art-house films. You'd be surprised then, by Fanny and Alexander. At three and a half hours long this adaptation of the 1982 film isn't brief, but it's a delight to watch in spite of the odd misjudged moment. Stephen Beresford (BAFTA winning author of Pride) has conjured up an eloquent and moving Swedish feast with a raft of intriguing characters.

Set at the turn of the century, it follows the story of young Alexander and his affected theatrical family. The weaker first act proves that the only thing worse than spending Christmas with your own family is spending it with someone else's, as we get to see some occasionally jarring Swedish festivities in full swing. Act Two is darker and introduces a meaty dramatic twist as a death leads to changes for the children, while Act Three wraps things up neatly with some slightly bonkers magic realism.

Appropriately, there's a home-grown theatrical grand dame in the shape of Penelope Wilton playing the matriarch and she's a treat to watch. Well worth the ticket price alone.

Fanny and Alexander, Old Vic Theatre, The Cut, SE1 8NB, £12-£65. Until 14 April [Monday-Saturday]

Last Updated 07 March 2018