Belvoir St Theatre
October 11, 2018

Enemy of the people. It’s a phrase that’s we’ve heard lobbed time and again at the press by the orange man in the White House, so much so that The New York Times even wrote a story about the phenomenon and its obvious connection to Ibsen’s 1882 play of the same name. Unsurprisingly, it’s been programmed with increasing frequency in the last two years, speaking directly to contemporary concerns about the truth, corruption in government and the precarious position of the whistleblower. In Melissa Reeves’ adaptation for Belvoir, Dr Thomas Stockmann has become Dr Katherine Stockman, mixing the treatment of women into an already heady cocktail of social behaviour under the microscope.

Belvoir, An Enemy of the PeopleKate Mulvany in Belvoir’s An Enemy of the People. Photo © Brett Boardman

Reeves’ effective retelling is set bang in the moment, rife with contemporary allusions that never feel heavy handed but serve to underline the play’s urgency. We’re transported to a small country town in Australia, where Katherine, a wellness consultant, has discovered that the baths on which the community’s prosperity depends are tainted and causing illness. It’s a project...