A Doll’s House, after Henrik Ibsen, concept and direction by Fix&Foxy (DK), presented by Theatre of Europe with Chelsea Theatre in Rep
Secret venue for each performance (****)
Theatre of Europe’s Ibsen project couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when England seems determined to cut itself off, here is proof concrete that when it comes to art and creativity, artists really know no boundaries.Part of an Arts Council funded season with Chelsea Theatre to bring work from Europe for British audiences, in Denmark, Fix&Foxy’s directors, Tue Biering and Jeppe Kristensenby are in the business of reimagining popular films, tv and theatre in fresh theatrical settings. Twin Peaks, for example, was staged recently around a remote Danish peninsula with eight cars; Pretty Woman involved real sex workers.
A Doll’s House follows this idea brilliantly by using real people as Torvald and Nora, the woman whose slamming of her front door sent echoes spinning through Europe at the end of the 19th century paving the way for a domestic rebellion that has still not fully run its course.
Staging theatre inside people’s homes is not unknown here. Bobby Baker, the ground breaking performance artist was doing it more than two decades ago as well as other companies. What is new and thrilling in Fix&Foxy’s experiment is how the essence of A Doll’s House is teased out in a real setting – unknown and changed for every `performance’ – becoming extraordinarily tender, multi-layered and emotionally immediate in the process.
Despite having seen many more formal productions, I’ve never experienced the pang of Nora’s decision or her disappointment quite so personally as this one in west London a few nights ago, directed in the UK for Theatre of Europe by Denmark’s Pelle Nordhøj Kann.
Here clearly was a couple bound to each other with love and affection. Yet Ibsen’s fictional story of hidden secrets, corrupted trust and a broken marriage became surprisingly re-ignited and painfully true through this new staging.
It’s hard to over-praise Theatre of Europe’s three `performers’ – Cassie Raine, Ben Samuels and Jamie Zubairi – whose skill as psychological `facilitators’, succeeded in drawing out fresh meanings, emotional flashpoints and even some humour with care and watchful sensitivity.
In every sense, truly `immersive’ theatre. A wonderful new addition to the over-used term!
Performances in July 2016, more in Sept-Dec, to be announced
Review first published in Reviewsgate, July, 2016
A Doll’s House
after Henrik Ibsen, concept and direction by Fix&Foxy (DK)
Performed by Cassie Raine, Ben Samuels and Jamie Zubairi
Directed in the UK by Pelle Nordhøj Kann
A Fix&Foxy concept, presented by Theatre of Europe and Chelsea Theatre in Rep