Recontextualised production of A Doll’s House emphasises role of women
Ibsen’s early feminist play relocated from 19th century Oslo to early 1960s
Adapter Samuel Adamson and director Jemima Levick have hit on an inspired conceit in updating Ibsen’s early feminist play from late-19th century Oslo to the early 1960s. As well as choosing an era noted for its changing social and political mores, the milieu – familiar to current audiences from the hit TV show Mad Men and films such as Far From Heaven – does more to emphasise the restrictive role of women at the time than any tinkering with the text could.
As well as the tight-waisted skirts and figure-hugging dresses and sweaters worn by Emily Winter’s Nora Helmer, the indulged housewife who committed forgery in order to secure a loan when her husband was ill, Alex Lowde’s sharp-angled modernist house set, whose façade slides open to reveal what is going on in every room, makes a fitting cage for Nora as her predicament intensifies. Colin Grenfell’s lighting design also further heightens the tension, pinning Nora into corners of the set.
The well-known final act of A Doll’s House, in which the scales fall from Nora’s eyes and she realises that her first duty in life is to herself, is particularly powerful in Levick’s production, largely thanks to moving performances, from Winter and Neil McKinven as her uncomprehending husband, Torvald.
Dundee Rep, until Sat 6 Nov