21st Jul 2012 4:53pm | By Louise Kingsley
Carrie Cracknell makes memorable use of the larger space afforded by the Young Vic stage and elicits a mesmerising central performance from Hattie Morahan in Simon Stephens’ convincing new version of Ibsen’s 1879 classic.
She plays Nora, mother of three (including a real baby who makes a brief appearance) and loving wife of recently promoted bank manager Torvald.
After years of scrimping and saving, it seems their fortunes have finally changed. But Nora has been hiding a secret from her husband and now that secret – the debt she has been struggling to repay since he suffered a period of illness – threatens to be exposed.
Designer Ian MacNeil has created a rotating apartment. which regularly revolves to reveal bedroom, drawing room, hallway and the austere study where Torvald retreats to work.
Within the household walls, he treats his wife like a pet bird– a fluttering, beautiful creature to be admired and kept gently under his protective control.
The unannounced arrival of Nora’s old school friend (Susannah Wise’s practical Kristine, widowed and in search of work) unexpectedly shakes the foundations of the little white lies on which their marriage has existed for years.
Dominic Rowan is increasingly impressive as the superficially decent but ultimately hypocritical Torvald, for whom appearance is paramount and Nick Fletcher proves suitably creepy as the blackmailing Krogstad who wants a second chance.
But this is Morahan’s night as Nora faces up to the real basis of her marriage and desperately dances the tarantella as though her whole future depends on it – which, in a way, it does.
Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ
Tube| Southwark / Waterloo
Extended to 4 August
£10 - £30