July 4, 2021


Elling is billed as "a life affirming comedy", I did not find it such. The staging and performances were great but I struggled with the content. Firstly I'm not sure why it's called Elling when this is as much Kjell's story.

This is the story of two mentally impaired men trying to reintegrate into the "real world" after being released from an institution. The first half was so supremely uncomfortable I almost didn't stay for the second, though I'm glad I did as it improved somewhat. The men instead of being supported are abused and ignored by those who are meant to care for them and I was constantly on the edge of my seat worried about what would befall them - would they be taken advantage of? Would they do something stupid?

The play is a series of very short and slightly longer scenes which was a bit hard to digest. I was worried before seeing it that the comedy would come from laughing at the expense of the characters and often it did feel that way. Sure, there were laughs, but should we really be laughing at people who can't help the way they act? In one sense it is successful as I did genuinely care for the characters wellbeing.

My companion felt that there was at least a message to the play that came in the second act as Elling and Kjell integrated better into society. But we both left unsure if we'd enjoyed ourselves.

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