By Lia Cocks
Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, written in 1879, is a significant play in the way it deals with the awakening of a middle class wife and mother in a male-dominated world, one not too dissimilar to what we are experiencing in current day society. As you can imagine, the play caused great controversy at the time, and continues to speak powerfully more than 100 years after it first hit the stage. Ipskip Productions brings a new adaptation to life under the cultivating eye of director Nathan Quadrio and dramaturge Miriam Fietz, set in London in 1959.
Nora Helmer, the innocent (or not so innocent) self serving wife, was played beautifully by Allison Scharber. She portrayed the complexities of Nora’s character with charm, at times submissive and manic. She struggles with juggling kids, her house, husband, a secret debt, a terminally ill best friend and the arrival of an old school friend who brings much chaos through the door with her.
Georgia Stockham’s Christine Linde, the chaotic old friend, has the perfect blend of forcefulness and amiability while Anthony Vawser as the desperate and banged up bank employee Krogstad blackmailing Nora over a secret loan, a little stiff to begin with, relaxes into his character in the second act.
James McCluskey-Garcia is witty and melancholic as Rank, the dying and self aware doctor. While Torvald Helmer is played with a sufficient dominant presence by Matt Houston, that I too, would up and leave in the middle of the night!
Peeling back the layers of what seems like a smooth and ideal marriage revealed a fraught relationship and a confrontational final scene when Torvald discovers Nora’s lie.
I loved the simplistic set and sound design; it shows just how much two chairs, a table and a doorway can draw you into the fourth wall.
This dramatic work continues to speak forcibly to us on the issue of gender inequality, female empowerment and if love truly is enough.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.