Presented by IpSkip Productions
Reviewed 16 January 2019
IpSkip Productions have tackled one very hot topic in the wake of the #metoo movement, but what better time to do so and with an adaption of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. We are introduced to a married couple who are struggling with a number of life’s challenges in 1959, and we quickly realize that this is not the happy married couple they once were.
Director Nathan Quadrio has ensured that the sole focus is on the characters, with absolutely no distractions elsewhere and a very simple set. The use of two chairs, a table and a doorway was done perfectly, with emphasis on the back door highlighted through only a few simple lighting cues. Costumes were also well chosen with Nora’s two dresses both stunning; credit to Ann Humphries. Quadrio was also joined by Miriam Fietz who assisted with adaption, but also dramaturge, and the two have worked together well to bring this production to life.
Allison Scharber plays Nora Helmer, a character that we get to know very well as she spends almost the entire show on stage. Scharber is outstanding, and she makes the character incredibly likable and easy to relate to. We feel for her and the struggles she is facing during a marriage she is clearly no longer happy in. Nora is originally presented to us as a fragile woman but this is not the case towards the end of a powerful second act.
Matt Houston has the difficult challenge of playing a rather horrible character that is Nora’s husband, Torvald. Houston and Scharber have fantastic chemistry, and are very convincing as a couple. He gives Torvald so much depth that you question your thoughts on him throughout the show. Both of these actors have been given a lot of clear direction to their motives and needs, and Quadrio has ensured he gets the most out of both of them.
Georgia Stockham gives a warm and caring performance as Christine Linde, a dear friend of Nora’s, who we also sympathize with just as much as we do with Nora. While not present as much in the second act, her presence is felt during most of Act one as a character whose intentions are not initially made clear. Anthony Vawser also portrays his role of Niles Krogstad in a light that made us really feel for him as someone put in a very difficult position. It felt like there might have been some opening night nerves with some of his dialogue, but the character was spot on. Finally, James McCluskey-Garcia gave Dr. Arthur Rank a strong and bold portrayal. This character was only shown briefly in both acts, but McCluskey-Garcia certainly makes the most of the role.
Overall, this was a very powerful performance, with the final moments of the second act leaving the theatre incredibly quiet. IpSkip Productions and all those involved with this should be very proud of what they have achieved, and the audience will be in for quite a treat.
Reviewed by Daniel Knowles
Venue: Bakehouse Theatre
Season: Until 19 Jan 2019
Duration: Approx 2 hours