A Doll’s House at Bromley Little Theatre

11th – 19th October, Bromley Little Theatre (Bromley North) 7.45pm

Everyone’s talking about A Doll’s House right now. It’s being shown, surprisingly, in two venues across London. In contrast to the West End production, Bromley Little Theatre presents Samuel Adamson’s (The Light Princess) version of the most re-mastered play in history.
The one hundred seater theatre has been home to a number of previously successful amateur performances and Adamson’s 2003 rendering is set to be as triumphant, demonstrating sell-out shows from its debut.

The acknowledgedly significant, yet often morbidly sold story of luxury, love and longing was once a great controversy when it first came to the stage in the late 19th Century. Writer Henrik Ibsen’s attempt at a moral consideration for women of the era has been frequently modified to fit fashionable attitudes of theatre goers; Adamson’s adaptation reflects interestingly on its audience of 2013. His amended version of the play draws its characters out of themselves, in an arguably refreshing rebirth of the original.

As ever, director Pauline Armour (Clybourne Park; All My Sons) aims to centralise focus on the cast’s commitment to their roles. Her direction speaks volumes in its attitude to contemporary audiences. Using Adamson’s modernised script alongside chicly muted costumes, this delightful rendition ignites all senses. Demure furniture adorns the stage, dramatic, classical music fills the theatre and it’s likely that every member of the audience wishes they had brought a sweet snack to nibble on as Nora (Laura Kenward) enters, pecking at macaroons.

 Phil Cairns © 2013
Phil Cairns © 2013
What is evident throughout the play is how digestible it is for young audiences. Displaying vivacity and a responsive charm, the cast adopt a realistic, though perceptively theatrical grasp on their characters; an emotive interpretation from script to stage. The controversial character of Nora Helmer has been finely tuned under Armour’s vision. A star performance is given by Kenward, who adopts Nora’s maintained hysteria with exceptional ardour.  Howie Riply, as Torvald Helmer, is a fitting choice as Nora’s remodelled nineteenth century husband; he provides both humour and vilification, a gratifying reflection on male attitudes of the past. As a pair, the two represent a highly sexed marital body, which at the same time reinforces notions of immaturity and deceit in their alliance, both from male and female perspectives.
Negative connotations of Ibsen’s original dreary script aside, the marriage of Adamson’s redesign and Amour’s direction has proven to be a match made in heaven at BLT.

For more information about becoming a member at Bromley Little Theatre in order to see the play and others, visit the website to download an application form.

Author: Alex Donnelly

Alex has a passion for dance, film, music and theatre, especially the transcending type.