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Ibsen's Doll's House is given a classic revival



Review by Emma Whitelaw

SINCE its first performance in 1879, Ibsen’s epic tale A Doll’s House has been stirring audiences world-wide. Galleon Theatre Company’s production at the Greenwich Playhouse is no exception!

Men and women, young and old, were all clearly moved by Alice Grace’s stunning performance as the beautifully complex Nora. Seemingly fragile and subservient to all her husband’s desires, Nora’s talents are far greater than that which first meets the eye.

The play takes place at Christmas, in their family home. Nora and her husband, Torvold, appear to be the epitome of marital bliss.

They are blessed with three gorgeous children, live in a comfortable home, are members of polite society and on top of all this, Torvold has just won a job with a very healthy pay rise.

Their blissful marriage seems to be unshakable. Torvold sees to it that his family wants for nothing. As the ever so faithful wife, Nora does more for her husband than he’d ever dream.

They have all they’ve ever wanted, but it has come at a great cost – one that could very well destroy their marriage.

Their perfect little world starts to come crashing down with the arrival of Nora’s childhood friend, Christine, played by the talented Kate Izon, who brings all sorts of skeletons out of the closet - some secrets darker than others.

Nora confides in her long-lost friend that, unbeknownst to her husband, she did everything in her power to save his very life.

She tells Christine that Torvold was once very ill. On the verge of death, in fact, when she borrowed a large sum of money to move the family to Italy where the warmer weather soon cured her lover’s aliments.

Knowing full well Torvold wouldn’t approve, yet risking everything for love, her actions prove that she is not only an extremely proud woman, she is also one of exceptional moral fibre.

The performances of all involved were exceptional! Martin Beere, in particular, was superb as family friend Dr Rank. He brought such an exquisite sensitivity to the character and when he confessed his undying love to Nora, it truly brought a tear to the eye.

The set design, too, was just as fabulous, right down to the most intricate of details, including a delicately decorated Christmas tree complete with presents tied up with string, it truly takes one back in time.

The costume design, however, simply stole the show; each piece was so meticulously detailed. A true credit to the designer!

Something must also be said for the Greenwich Playhouse, it is remarkably refreshing to come across a theatre of such a high standard – one that exudes class, yet is in no way lacking in comfort.

A favourite of many, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House is sure to be staged for countless times to come. Galleon’s production is simply one of those not to be missed!

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen. Translated by Michael Meyer. Directed by Bruce Jamieson. Produced by Alice de Sousa. Presented by Galleon Theatre Company. Starring Martin Beere, Alice Grace, Alex Hutchinson, Kate Izon, Stephanie Nielson and Stephen Russel-Bird. December 7, 2004 to January 9, 2005 at Greenwich Playhouse, Greenwich Station Forecourt, London, SE10 8JA. Box Office: 020 8858 9256; boxoffice@galleontheatre.co.uk. Tickets: £10, £8 (concs) Editor's note: No Performances on Dec 24, 25, 26, 31, or Jan 1 & 2

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