The A Doll’s House set was beautiful. Like really, really beautiful. If you just ignored everything else and just watched the set for the whole performance, you would probably get your money’s worth. Therefore if you add everything else the Young Vic does on top of this revolving spector – you are pretty much in profit. An actress friend once said to me that the role of Nora Helmer is one of the hardest and most fantastic parts to play, and Hattie Morahan does her more than justice. Though in the opening scenes the childlike naivety of the caged bird was slightly overdone, and fluttered just the wrong side of realism, by the play’s climax Nora was playing puppetry with the entire audience’s emotions.
The play sells itself as ‘the moment everything you value falls to pieces’, and though this is essentially what it is, personally I feel that the beauty of Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece is in the journey rather than the ‘moment’. It is not the play’s climax that takes control of our hearts – it is the smaller things. Nora’s rising belief that she is not to be trusted to play with her children. Torvald, Nora’s husband’s, gradual building of the walls of the doll’s house that entraps her – ‘my most precious possession’, ‘you are my child’ all of these moments contribute to the crescendo, but in my opinion are more dramatically impressive.
The production was not perfect – the fleeting appearance of an on stage baby felt a novelty, and the love story between Christine and Nils seemed stilted and false, but the essence of the play, the questions it raises on marital dynamics and the calibre of the acting were all more than enough to commend it. And did I mention that the set was fantastic?