This review is a tad late due to busyness. I’ve just applied for a Masters course in London so that took lots of time and effort, but hooray! It’s done. Now we wait…
A couple of weeks ago I went to see the Young Vic’s production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Duke of York’s theatre. I managed to get one of those sneaky £10 tickets that usually sell out stupidly fast. Before the show I realised I needed dinner, so I sat alone in a questionable restaurant and had a glass of wine and a sharing camembert to myself. A depressing start to an otherwise pleasant evening.
It was a fantastic production, played out on a revolving stage that made the setting appear to resemble an actual doll’s house. Ibsen’s plays are so striking because of their focus on domesticity and the familiarity of home, and the revolving stage allowed you to see into the depths of the domestic space, observing characters that would usually be off-stage.
Hattie Morahan’s portrayal of Nora Helmer was fascinating and perfectly carried off. I thought she played to Ibsen’s bird imagery wonderfully, often standing with a bent posture like she was restricted or unable to stand freely. The sexual undertones were perfectly balanced throughout the show, hinting at a struggle between innocence and sexuality in Nora. She seemed to be fighting with herself, longing to be looked after by her patronising husband, but very happy to take on responsibility and look after him.
The tarantella dance before the interval was a magnificent climax to the lengthy first half, with an excellent use of lighting indicating the spiral of despair Nora was quickly falling into. It grew darker and darker, until eventually only Nora remained lit up, and her dancing soon resembled a fit, uncomfortable and disturbing to watch.
The vitally important ending exceeded expectations, with an emotionally clogged conversation sharply cut off by that famous slamming of the door. The piece was magnificent and the cast were superb. A thought-provoking performance of one of Ibsen’s most controversial works.