Peter Gynt

Peter Gynt

National Theatre · 27 JUN - 08 OCT

Ibsen’s classic is reinvented as a riotous musical adventure for the 21st century.

“In 2016, writer David Hare and director Jonathan Kent teamed up to adapt the National’s Young Chekhov season together, which was a great success. They’re teaming up again on a new version of Ibsen’s tricky play Peter Gynt – which they’ve described as a ‘riotous musical adventure reinvented for the 21st century.’ At 3 ½ hours, they certainly haven’t reinvented its length. But we’re intrigued to see where they take it. And with the brilliant James McArdle as the lead it could be really great.”


Peter Gynt is searching for something: himself. Traveling from the mountains of Scotland to the pool-sides of Florida, he’ll meet talking hyenas, two-headed trolls and even an Egyptian Sphinx. But his ultimate transformation may not be all that he hoped for…

Playing the rebellious antihero, James McArdle (Angels In America) is reunited with David Hare and Jonathan Kent, the partnership behind the triumphant Young Chekhov at Chichester Festival Theatre and the National Theatre.

This outrageous modern myth is designed by the Tony award-winning Richard Hudson (The Lion King), with an original score from Paul Englishby (BBC's Luther and Dr Foster) and movement direction from Polly Bennett (Bohemian Rhapsody).

Critic reviews

Hare updates Ibsen’s 1867 dramatic poem with wit and ingenuity, resulting in a sharp satire on contemporary mores

The Guardian

Meandering update of Ibsen's sprawling fantasy

Evening Standard

James McArdle is the saving grace in a clunky and repetitious satirical update of Ibsen

The Stage

Fantastical drama that meanders back and forth

The Times

The jokes keep coming, but McArdle finds his way to the truth of the play. It is an astonishingly good performance


Some good jokes and a brilliant turn from James McArdle can’t patch up David Hare’s exhausting Ibsen update

Time Out

This is a missed opportunity to bring Peer Gynt into the 21st century

Lyn Gardner for Stagedoor

An interminable, toe-curling bore

The Telegraph

McArdle holds it together - never has a play's title been more earned

Broadway World

This entirely watchable production both surprises and illuminates a play that I've previously thought was impossible to actually enjoy

London Theatre

It’s baffling how anyone could be bored during the three-hour playing time when McArdle holds the stage for its duration

The Arts Desk

James McArdle is dazzling in this laugh-out-loud, feel-bad production of Henrik Ibsen’s 1867 play

The Independent

Despite McArdle’s brilliance, it feels like a long slog

Financial Times

Pig-nosed whimsy


Date & time

Show ended
Thu 27 Jun - Tue 8 Oct, 1pm & 7pm


National Theatre
South Bank SE1 9PX London, UK · Get Directions
out of 5 stars
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