Ibsen has something of a reputation for being pretty tough going whether on stage or on paper, but I could think of no better introduction to this wonderful writer than the current West End transfer of A Doll’s House at the Duke of York’s Theatre. As my first foray into this style of hyper realism, it is testament to the skill of the actors and the exquisite direction that made this production so clear and accessible.
I let out a small gasp when the lights dimmed and the miniature-seeming front room began to rotate. The muted pastel colours and minimal decor created an air of simple domesticity, but one that was fractured diagonally by one wall and small narrow rooms indicative of the confinement felt by Nora. The stage set up allowed the audience to feel as if they were privy to every aspect of the Helmers’ lives, but as the secrecy and intrigue of the plot unveils, it becomes clear that it is only a very small fraction of the story that is actually played out in front of us. The balance between what is said and what remains hidden, appearance and reality, and the public and private are held in a delicate equilibrium that threatens to be overturned at any moment as the stage spins out of control.
This article was first published on The Arbuturian. For the full article please see here.