‘There should be no shame in us taking pleasure in our little lives.’
Legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece Fanny & Alexander is translated to the stage by BAFTA award-winning writer Stephen Beresford and Old Vic Associate Director Max Webster.
Amongst the gilded romance and glamour of 1900s Sweden, siblings Fanny and Alexander’s world is turned upside down when their widowed mother remarries the iron-willed local bishop. As creative freedom and rigid orthodoxy clash, a war ensues between imagination and austerity in this magical study of childhood, family and love.
★★★★ ‘Penelope Wilton enchants’ - Evening Standard
★★★★ ‘Stephen Beresford’s stage adaptation sheds new light on Bergman’s screen masterpiece’ - Financial Times
★★★★ ‘This is a feast of a show’ - The Independent
★★★★ ‘a…sumptuous feast’ - The Metro
★★★★ ‘Wilton is wonderfully funny’- The Observer
★★★★ ‘richly colourful and assured recreation, and a brave, unquestionable triumph for The Old Vic.’ - The Sunday Times
★★★★ ‘it’s possessed of a surging emotional swoop and visual audacity that bursts its way into your heart.’ - Time Out
★★★★ ‘It's impressive stuff and it's bolstered by exceptional performances’ - WhatsOnStage
Fanny & Alexander reviews
I was not well acquainted with this play but was thoroughly mesmerised by the whole performance
Fantastic unexpected play. I did not know the story. Very well crafted. The acting and ser were brilliant.
Terrific performances from the cast. Thoroughly enjoyabl
Three and a half hours including two intervals about the troubles on an early 20th Century Swedish family may seem like a long haul but this was an utterly enthralling and absorbing story seen through a child's eyes of the issues faced by adults when 'bad things'happen. Although there are frictions below the surface, fundamentally the large and extended family in which young Alexander and Fanny live is a happy if chaotic one and the tensions that arise when their widowed mother re-marries a religious zealot lead to the tragic drama that follows. Exemplary acting from a cast of 18 led by Penelope Wilton, Michael Pennington, Jonathan Slinger and Kevin Doyle with a fluid set design and direction create superb piece of theatre.
Alexander was by far the best actor of the night. Fantastic scenography and an overall really good production. Really good interpretation and emphasis on Swedish traditions and particularly the importance of the food. Very good !
Superb acting and set design. First act was a little slow but the second and third act were griping.
Excellent and the 3 acts in 3 hours just slid by. Great cast especially Alexander.
Great theatre version of the film. There wasn't a dull moment, stage and special effects excellent. Penelope Wilton particularly, made a brilliant performance. I went with some English friends who had no Ingmar Bergman experience and they also found the play very good, profound, shocking and occasionally funny.
I loved this play. Highly entertaining, beautifully acted, great production.
I was so plesently surprised. What amazing actors. How quickly and enjoyable the play passed even though over 3 hours which had initially put me off I have to say. What a good idea to have 2 intervals. Would highly recommend this play.
I confess I gave up early on the well-reviewed film of this drama and was talked into seeing the play by a friend with good taste and moral judgment. I brought my 14 year old daughter. Briefly, and best: the thought-provoking dramatic dilemmas are laid out clearly in the production. There are, shockingly, no longueurs, and the piece moves well, despite its length, a credit largely to Penelope Wilton and the boy Alexander. Why not 5 stars? The piece did not avoid the pitfalls of the medium, namely: whiplash from swinging from existential doom to gaiety and back again in short order; too much reliance on Chekhovian yearning+handkerchief twisting; and a scheinheilig panto-villain. But, overall, an evening well spent.
I absolutely loved it. The actors performance was exceptional. All of them without exception. I could easily go again to be honest. The musicians upstairs were excellent and the Old vic staff were very kind and welcoming. I also had a good deal with my ticket and so my first experience at the Old Vic’ was impeccable. Thank you. Please Keep high standards!
The play was nearly three hours long with two added breaks. I think one long break might have been better. It was an odd sort of play not one I would have opted to see had it had unknown cast members. Mainly dramatic but with some comedy and not too dated, ensemble cast made it a bit hap-hazard. Value is where the rabbit comes out of the hat. I booked it on-line through an agency and was surprised to get a ticket for £13.80 five rows from the front! Venue is good with friendly staff but wasn't allowed to take a photo in the auditorium owing to copyright. Drinks averagely priced.
Wonderful actors and emotional second act. The first and the third acts were unnecessary long.
Excellent production which despite its length at 3 and a half hours, kept us intrigued as the situations changed and developed. A real treat which has gone somewhat under the radar.
This piece of theatre is one of the most amazing & wonderful experiences I have had in a Very long lifetime of theatre going (I am very old) I was accompanied by my 19year old grandaughter who is studying drama at Sussex Uni we were both spell bound & what brilliant privilege for a young person that loves theatre to enjoy Thank you to everybody involved in this glorious production
Not to be missed!
But how could it be? A miracle of a valid alternative. So glad they kept in a bit of Swedish. Reading the menus a particularly glorious touch. A pity you couldn't burn the bishop on-stage.
A wonderful play with a fine cast. The audience was put through every emotion
Excellent production - clarity of diction and clever stage direction with the sets. Our Alexander (1 of 4) carried the thread brilliantly. Must read more critiques of the play to delve deeper into the meaning and interpretation. The Programme might have been more helpful in steering us. Certainly can recommend.
It can't be easy adapting such a lush cinematic experience as Fanny and Alexander for the stage but the Old Vic do a fine job. Though it is a long production, I found it enthralling. I thoroughly recommend it.
Highly recommend that you catch Fanny & Alexander before it closes on 14th April. Jonathan Slinger is particularly good.
This is one for everyone with a family life - outstanding acting, lots of laughs and a dark side which puts the happiness found into a wonderful perspective.
Very well acted, from great actors, Alexander was a big role and the young actor at our performance Jack Falk was excellent.
On a visit to London what to check out a show & came across this by chance. Did not know anything about this play & must admit when I saw it was over 3 hours long I was bit worried. We were not disappointed it was a joy. Great cast, story and would recommend it to all. First class production.
This was a long play but never seemed it. A first rate cast brought the right mixture of energy, humour and pathos to this production. A poised and accomplished performance from Alexander (Kit Connor) took the audience with ease through a roller coaster of emotions. The Old Vic is a great venue and the cast had the audience captivated throughout.
A great company. Inventive staging. Good actors.
This was really a striking production of a great but difficult play and the boy playing Penelope Wilton's grand son on friday was quite outstanding...a quibble ...I found the set a bit repertory like...maybe not enough money or space !
I chose to see this play mainly out of curiosity to see the adaptation of one of my favourite films. It turned out to be one of the best plays that I have ever seen. The text, performances, and staging are all magical. Such powerful moments and a faultless flow. Would love to see it again!
If you feel you can cope with a 3 hour play (plus two 15 minute intervals) - this is a rewarding evening. In addition to the story of a Swedish theatrical family, the children experience ghostly episodes and there is a truly terrifying villain. The play is never boring with the designs cleverly illustrating the different periods of the saga. It needed extra cutting but, very satisfyingly, there is a happy ending and music!
This was cleverly staged with a sense of this turn of the century Swedish family's trials and tribulations coming across on stage with fine performances from both the adults and children. could have done without the swearing coming from the young ones ( not scripted in the film version) as it does not improve the narrative to my mind. A superbly directed performance, coming after the staging of "Scenes from a Marriage" some 5 years ago in London by the same film director.
Horribly designed , clunky scene changes , nothing theatrically inventive . Pedestrian production falling into every trap an adaptation from film to theatre is prey to . Sheer virtuosity of Penny Wilton rescues it from complete mediocrity . Left the theatre because my embarrassment became overwhelming .
Loved it. Great performances all round, especially Penelope Wilton.
Long show, two intervals, but that wasn’t a problem, the acting from the whole cast was through the roof, the stage changes were really good, you cannot beat the Old Vic as the seating is perfect , loved it.
Stunning performances in eery staging.
Wonderful performance. 3.5 h felt like 2 hour. Great cast with energy and presence.
A glorious, immersive experience. Brilliant performances with jaw dropping sets. Loved it
It’s unusual for a play to have two intervals these days so this marathon could have been hard to focus on but the astonishing performances held us gripped in our seats from start to finish ! Penelope Wilton as the Swedish matriarch and Kevin Doyle as the Puritan bishop were particularly strong with Impressive cameos from the brothers. Fanny and Alexander themselves should be singled out for a special mention . Their performances were arduous and they did not miss a beat. A really strong contribution from live musicians made the performance all the more compelling . Thoroughly reccomended!
Good script, well acted, good show.
Move well until act 3, where the long philosophical scenes should be shortened. 5 star acting.
No refunds or exchanges after booking.
Approx. running time: 3 hours 30 minutes, including two 15 minute intervals
How Does It Work
Please print confirmation and bring along with you to your performance.
Suitable For Children
Age Guidance: 16+ years
When Can I Go
Wed 21 Feb – Sat 14 Apr 2018
Where Do I Go
The Old Vic
The Cut, Lambeth, London SE1 8NB