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Stage Dragon Review: A Doll’s House At The Electric Theatre

Published on: 12 May, 2016
Updated on: 12 May, 2016

If you are looking for something provocative, controversial and emotional, A Doll’s House, presented by Merrow Dramatic Society at the Electric Theatre, holds all of these ingredients.

The play, scandalous when first staged in 1879, looks at the bourgeois marriage expectations in Norwegian society in the 1870s and then adds a feminist twist which makes the play as relevant today as it was provocative then.

Torvald and Nora Helmer in A Doll's House played by Giles Parry and Helen Warren.

Torvald and Nora Helmer in A Doll’s House played by Giles Parry and Helen Warren.

Based on an event in Ibsen’s own life, A Doll’s House follows Torvald and Nora Helmer who have it all: a loving marriage, three beautiful children, and a secure financial future as a result of Torvald’s new appointment at the bank.

But Nora has a secret, and the arrival of an unexpected visitor on Christmas Eve threatens to tear their lives apart forever…

Nora flirts with her husband whilst Mrs Linde and Dr Rank look on.

Nora flirts with her husband whilst Mrs Linde and Dr Rank look on.

There are dilemmas at every turn. Nora has forged her father’s signature to get a loan; the family friend, Dr Rank, is dying of consumption but has always been secretly in love with Nora; Krogstad, who is going to reveal Nora’s forgery to her upright husband, has been jilted by Nora’s good friend, Mrs Linde, who now wants to take him back.

The controversy we see now is our revulsion at the patronising way Nora’s husband, Torvald, treats her. He pets her like a child and sees that his role is to guide and cajole his weak, flawed possession of a wife.

Equally unacceptable is Nora’s playing up to that role, that stereotype.

A Doll's House.

Nora’s three children are introduced to the new visitor in town, Mrs Linde in A Doll’s House.

The surprise, the emotionally charged third act, is where Nora recognises that she has been living her life as another persons toy and she, and her husband cannot continue. She will leave him and her children rather than continue an unfulfilled life with a person she now sees as a stranger.

This is an ambitious play for amateur players to take on but Merrow Dramatic Society has succeeded, particularly in the third act.

The set was very atmospheric and the director, Kevin Wright, has achieved the best from his cast.

Helen Warren gave an animated and spoilt girl performance as Nora with her austere and somewhat smug bank manager husband, Giles Parry, as Torvald.

Christine Siddall as Mrs Linde, Peter Servian as Dr Rank, Rob Greaves as Krogstad, Jenny Pegman as Anne Marie and the junior cast of Hannah Coates, Louise Wren and Eleanor Cornish all put in sound performances.

It is hard to believe but two members of the audience decided to clatter their way down the steps and across the front of the stage in the highly charged third act, presumably to go to the toilet – and then back again. All credit to the actors who carried on without pause.

We are lucky to have a strong amateur dramatic history in Guildford. Long may it continue.

A Doll’s House is on at the Electric Theatre until Saturday, May 14.

You can book tickets by calling the Electric Theatre on 01483 444789 or book on-line by clicking here.

You can find out more about the Merrow Dramatic Society by clicking here for its website.

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test One Response to Stage Dragon Review: A Doll’s House At The Electric Theatre

  1. Marcus Thornewell Reply

    May 12, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Agree – it was a fantastic opening night and I will certainly be returning for another dose of Nora in her Doll’s House!

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