Theatre review: A Doll's House

A Doll's House at the Circa Theatre is a clever rewrite of a classic tale.
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A Doll's House at the Circa Theatre is a clever rewrite of a classic tale.

A Doll's House, By Emily Perkins, adapted from Ibsen's original, Directed by Katherine McRae, Circa Theatre, until September 2.

The crux of Ibsen's classic play A Doll's House is at the end when the main character Nora decides to gain her independence and walks out on her family, slamming the front door, never to return.

In Circa Theatre's production of Emily Perkins' adaptation of the play, this exit is executed in an amazingly dramatic way and is the culmination of a perfectly honed piece of theatre. Perkins' modern take on the story giving it a great sense of the here and now.

READ MORE:
Theatre Review: All's Well That Ends Well

It is Christmas and Nora (Sophie Hambleton) and her husband Theo (Arthur Meek) and two children are celebrating.

During this time, Christine (Kali Kopae), a friend from way back, arrives to unburden herself after her divorce, Aidan (Francis Biggs), a work colleague of Theo's with a shady past also turns up as does good friend and neighbour Gerry (Peter McCauley).

As each arrives, Nora's life slowly begins to unravel and, as the tensions develop between her husband and the visitors, she becomes less able to cope and she finds her only option is to escape.

With its modern New Zealand setting and Kiwi idiosyncrasies, the play shows a scenario all too common in many communities and the dilemma of balancing family duties with individual needs is all to painfully brought out in this excellent production under Katherine McRae's direction and on Ian Harman's incredibly innovative set.

Early in the play Nora says of herself that she is "so ditsy these days" and Hambleton's portrayal epitomises this beautifully. Yet the climatic showdown with Theo in the final moments shows she still has what it takes to make a stand and be her own person to gain respect for what she has done.

 And in the role of Theo, Meek is a brilliant foil to Nora, not the domineering husband of the original but a loving, warm and genuine husband and father trying to work out what is going on as his world crashes down around him.

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In this version the children are an integral part of the story line popping in and out at strategic moments, making Nora's leaving even more poignant in that it is the children she is leaving as much as it is the husband.

On the opening night the performances of Jessica Southey as Bee and Levi Alexander as Billy were exemplary adding much to what was a great production of a clever rewrite of a classic play. 

 - Stuff

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