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We gather outside an estate agent’s shop front in Brondesbury Park, none of us knowing quite what to expect. After a roll call we walk a few hundred metres down a typical suburban street where we are given our instructions – we are about to see a performance of A Doll’s House in a couple’s house. That much we knew already. What we did not know is that our hosts have no more clue as to what is going on than we do. A typical day in London’s increasingly deconstructed theatre land.

Devised by award-winning Danish theatre company Fix&Foxy and performed and directed by Cassie Raine, Jamie Zubairi and Ben Samuels, this take on the Ibsen classic breaks down conventional concepts of audience and cast – and directors for that matter. Some of us sit cross-legged on the living room floor while others share the sofa with the actors – there are no barriers here.

What follows is an intriguing and at times slightly discomforting analysis of the emotional issues generated by the play – unconditional love, deceit and betrayal – placed in a most contemporary setting.

As with The Mousetrap, I left the evening sworn to secrecy as to the key twist in the performance, but unlike Agatha Christie’s hackneyed play, it comes at the outset rather than the denouement. Therefore, I will not describe the performance itself, apart from observing that at times the direction tended to trivialize the play’s power, but at other times there was a raw emotion and total unpredictability that was refreshing and invigorating.

The Theatre of London rendition manages to take a novel approach to what is apparently the world’s most performed play. In so doing it proves there is an amazing vitality and variety in the capital’s current theatre performances.

By the end I felt that I had got to know my hosts better than if I had attended a conventional dinner party at their house, as well as observing how the issues that Ibsen considers are as relevant now as they were when the play was first performed almost 140 years ago. As we mingled afterwards and discussed the experience with hosts, guests and cast, most seemed to agree that they had never experienced theatre quite like this before.

Perhaps not one for theatre purists, but if we prefer your drama more avant garde than guarded then this could well be the ticket for you.

A Doll’s House will be performed on 13 & 19 October, 8, 12 & 18 November and 2, 3, 9 & 10 December at a domestic address in London – the exact address will be communicated via email 24 hours before each performance. Tickets cost £15 and £10 (concessions). For more information: visit: www.theatreofeurope.org.uk

 

 


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Theatre Review: A Doll’s House
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