A Doll’s House
By Henrik Ibsen
Royal Exchange Theatre, 7 May 2013
It has not been so long, a little more than two years, since the Library Theatre put on a production of Ibsen’s great play.
What strikes one now is its contrivance: the way it takes place over Christmas, the many elements of intrigue that would not be out of place in a Feydeau farce. Such as, for example, a secret loan, a forged signature and a fatal letter that must be intercepted and retrieved.
Yet the crucial achievement of the play remains, and that’s the verve with which it reengineers marriage. Transforming it from a Christian institution where the woman vows to honour and obey into a mature alliance of equals founded on honesty and mutual respect. And this still seems extraordinary as well as effecting, the way these people – Nora and Torvald too, the latter with some reluctance, granted – grow up before ones eyes.
A beautifully crafted, perfectly paced play and there are some splendid performances in this production, not least from Cush Jumbo as Nora.
A Doll’s House is at the Royal Exchange Theatre until 1 June, further details can be found here.