A DOLL’S HOUSE

Henrik Ibsen

Translated, Designed and Directed by Terje Tveit
Lighting Design by Finnuala McNulty

Rosemary Branch Theatre

13 February - 14 March 2001

Cast

Sarah Head Nora Helmer
William Rowsey Torvald Helmer
Sanna Stellan Kristina Linde
Graham Elwell Dr Rank
George Buchanan Nils Krogstad

Reviews

“Sometimes restrictions can be the mother of invention. This is the case with the current show at the Rosemary Branch Theatre. In their production of Ibsen’s story about a woman’s discovery of herself and the world, Dale Teater Kompani has created a vivid and pacey presentation, where style expresses the substance behind it, rather than trumpeting over it. On the small stage, a piece of cloth becomes a dress and Christmas tree decorations, and a ladder becomes a Christmas tree, a wall and a place for children to hide. The clearest sign that this theatrical trick works is that the audience does not even think about it as it happens, and perhaps not afterwards either. More that 120 years since it was written, the issues which A Doll’s House raises are still being fought over today. Nora lives under the kind but imprisoning patronage of her husband. But a rash deal which she signed to save his life is about to return to her from her past and reveal to her the true nature of her relationship with him and the world. Performances are lively, passionate and confident. Lisa Barry combines sense and sensibility as Kristina: a woman who has lived her life according to the needs of others, but who still has the potential for joy and love, and who is prepared to search for it where others might refuse to look. Barry’s looks and gestures are so fluid and so much part of the flow of the piece that they are easily missed in themselves, but they reveal the character of Kristina with her quiet force, and their effect on the atmosphere of the paly is significant. Sarah Head is an endearing Nora, skittish and slightly irritating throughout. As the trap she has set for herself closes around her, her gaiety becomes even more frantic and forced like a bird caught in a snare and trying to free herself. Meanwhile, William Rowsey is a youthful Helmer, already replete with a smug and smothering complacency after only four years of marriage. An old story, a small budget and a huge amount of invention.”

Highbury and Islington Express

“Nora, brilliantly played by Sarah Head, is the doll-loving wife living in the suffocating environs of the doll house. Torvald Helmer (William Rowsey) is her hopelessly patronising husband organising her life because she is a woman, doll-delicate and fragile. ... Terje Tveits’ translation and direction of Dale Teater Kompani’s A Doll’s House, is one of those rare events in the London theatre calendar that is head and shoulders above what else is on offer quite simply because of its excellence.”

Islington Gazette

“Dale Theatre Company’s production of A Doll’s House is well worth the trip to Rosemary Branch. Terje Tveit, the director, takes this classic text and turns it into an innovative piece of theatre. By adapting the text slightly, Terje Tveit breathes new life into this piece of naturalism. The director uses the actors as the Helmer children and intersperses the scenes with excellent singing of Christmas Carols. It’s a shame it wasn’t the Christmas Show which would have added its poignancy and given it a sense of immediacy. Sarah Head is a wonderfully bright Nora full of irritating cheerfulness and well able to take the character from her apparent childishness to an adult willing to undertake the search for herself. The patronizing Helmer is played with excellent pomposity by William Rowsey and the sexual charge between him and Nora is well realised. The supporting cast are both enthusiastic and dynamic, the singing spine chillingly good and the movement around the small minimalist set, full of energy. Although written well over a hundred years ago, it still has much to say to women of the Bridget Jones/Ally McBeal era and many others besides. Although in the second half some of the songs could have been edited, if you want to see a refreshing version of Ibsen I recommend a trip to Dale theatre at the Rosemary Branch.”

Theatreworld Internet Magazine

“Out of the darkness the latest production by the Dale Teater Kompani bursts onto the stage. From the outset it is obvious that this is going to be a fast-paced, energetic and polished performance of Ibsen’s classic. Simple staging and costume comprising mainly of only black and red elements, enhanced by the strong use of colour in the lighting design, certainly help to define the contrasts seen throughout the production in both character and emotion. A strong cast led by Sarah Head as the initially naïve and emotionally developing Nora - quality performances.”

The Stage

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