An innovative and fresh take on A Doll’s House, this performance by Space Productions involves a subtle re-thinking of Ibsen’s classic play. Incorporating dance elements and puppetry, the ideas behind this production are both experimental and surprisingly cohesive.
Irina Borisova and Emma Thatcher’s collaborative design is radical and transformative: the theatre space becomes a doll’s house, enveloped with canopies and hanging ornaments. Particularly of note is the visual dominance of a suspended transparent post box. This provides a perfect auricular centrality to the letters dropped by Krogstad and Doctor Rank, and emphasises the fragility of Nora’s situation, and how out-of-reach her solution seemingly lies. The decision to have the Helmers’ children played by puppets is an excellent one. The small role they have in the piece is perversely strengthened, as is Nora’s resolve to leave this household in which she is unable to serve a fulfilling purpose.
There is a strong central performance by Gina Abolins as Nora, but there is the odd moment of weakness in some of the other actors. The most overwhelming and memorable aspect, however, is indisputably the tea party-like set. Papered and packaged macaroons, delectable costumes and a programme you’ll want to keep for ever, this is a modern yet sensitive and inoffensive interpretation of Ibsen.