A Doll's House

Tue 24th – Sat 28th April 2012

reviews

Jess Moor

at 08:16 on 25th Apr 2012

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Henrik Ibsen’s domestic drama, written in 1879, was performed tonight at the Corpus Playroom, modernised and with a twist. With the flipping of coins to choose the actors’ characters and the welcoming of props from the audience, the six-strong cast impressively improvised their way through 'A Doll’s House' with humour, flair and poignancy. That such pace and fluency was largely improvised and yet did not detract from the original themes of gender inequality, unrequited love, financial woes and family burdens is a credit to Rosie Robson’s directing.

Claudia Grigg-Edo, who on another night may have played Freddie Poulton’s Christine, successfully took on the role of Nora, a housewife trapped by her loyalties to her imperceptive husband (James Ellis) and Krogstad’s (Joey Akubeze) manipulation. Accompanied by the fixed roles of the Maid (Martha Bennett) and Dr. Rank (Matthew Clayton), who reined in the spontaneity and guided the improvisation along Ibsen’s plotline with their own moments of improvisation, the actors allowed the audience to forget that there was no strict script. Along with some minor prop defects, such as the threat of a disintegrating chair, we were entertained by witty quips that even had the cast in stitches.

The intimacy of the Playroom suits this take on Ibsen’s modern tragedy and could not be performed so comfortably in larger venue. The uniqueness of each night’s performance will add to this laid back atmosphere. 'A Doll’s House' makes for a surprise of an evening, and has been given four stars by a satisfied reviewer for a superb piece of theatre.

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