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A Doll’s House

By Henrik Ibsen

Royal Exchange Theatre, 7 May 2013

Cush Jumbo as Nora Helmer in A DOLL'S HOUSE by Henrik Ibsen (Royal Exchange Theatre 1 May - 1 June 2013) Photo - Jonathan Keenan.

Cush Jumbo as Nora Helmer in A DOLL’S HOUSE by Henrik Ibsen. Photo – Jonathan Keenan.

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.