A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen adapted by Zinnie Harris

A Doll’s House is a play I’ve seen more than once and studied. It isn’t a happy work, but it does have a lot to tell us about the ways in which our best endeavours for the ones we love the most can blow up in our faces and cause life-long harm. This version by Zinnie Harris, staged by the Royal Lyceum Theatre and the National Theatre of Scotland, has lost none of the intense moral centre of Ibsen’s original.

Harris took the play out of the banking world and into the political one where trust is equally important. Trust is all the politician has to allow him (and they were him) to lead his flock by the even-handed use of power that can be frighteningly all-embracing. At the core of the work is the issue of whether wrong-doing is ever justified. Thomas tells the embattled Nora everyone always has choices. Do we? What kind of choices? Choices might be to not buy a small car for the country cottage so one can re-decorate the drawing room, but equally might be not to put the heating on because then you can’t buy food. Thomas says they would face consequences together and then when he has to is unable to see beyond what he would lose and falls into the myth Nora created to save him from the stigma of being known to suffer from mental paralysis. I had pneumonia, he says without pausing for breath.

Excellent performances by the cast kept the pace moving along and the audience quiet. Lucianne McEvoy as Christine and Brian McCardie as Kelman were a delight to watch. Amy Manson was an engaging Nora.

On a personal note, I was really pleased the pears used in the scene we bloggers were privileged to see  pre-opening, had been abandoned.

Run continues. Well worth your time.

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