• Capsule Reviews

An Enemy of the People

April 1, 2024

By Ben Togut

After a doctor makes a discovery that threatens the livelihood of his small town, all hell breaks loose in An Enemy of the People, now playing at Circle in the Square Theater. Returning to Broadway in a new adaptation from Amy Herzog and directed by Sam Gold, Ibsen’s drama shines as a result of its ensemble, who powerfully evoke a community struggling with a terrible truth.

Jeremy Strong delivers an impassioned performance as Thomas Stockmann, a doctor steadfast in his pursuit of justice. Strong brings such commitment and pathos to the role that audiences can’t help but root for Dr. Stockmann in his battle for the truth, even when his methods are suspect. Michael Imperioli is wonderfully despicable as Peter Stockmann, the town mayor who condemns his own brother for exposing a secret that might cause the town’s ruin. The complexity with which Imperioli navigates his character’s loyalties as both Dr. Stockmann’s sibling and the town’s mayor makes his performance a pleasure to watch.

Another strength of the production is its faithfulness to the setting of Ibsen’s drama. The lighting design by Isabella Byrd and production design by dots effortlessly transport audiences to 19th century Scandinavia through rustic, candle-lit chandeliers and the blue and white Norwegian patterning in Dr. Stockmann’s home. The Norwegian folk music sung throughout the production gives the play a homey authenticity that invites audiences into Ibsen’s world.

With performances that illuminate the complex social dynamics at the heart of Ibsen’s melodrama, An Enemy of the People is as provocative and timely as ever.