Scene It: A Doll’s House, the most absurd tragicomedy you simply have to see!

March 19, 2016

What happens when the superficial, the controlling, the cynic, the bitter and the nervous-wreck come together on stage? You get a Christiaan Olwagen inspired staging of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (Et dukkehjem). Although this three-act play premiered in Denmark in 1879 already, Olwagen has given it a modern, fresh 2016 feel.


It verges on being theatre of the absurd, a kind of tragicomedy; theatre’s answer to surrealism. It is amazing theatre with just the right degree of kitsch to make it fabulously ridiculous and so irrational that it all just kind of makes sense in a nonsensical way.


I had to remind myself to close my mouth occasionally as I was unashamedly staring at the various OTT reaction driven scenes that followed one after the other. You get sucked into the different character’s reactions as they create a kind of dream/dance/escapism versus reality contradiction. Honestly you are either going to love or hate it, but what I can guarantee is that your reaction to it will be an extreme.

The opening night audience however clearly loved it. Everyone was in agreement that this staging of A Doll’s House is unquestionably brilliant. There is one problem though, it is difficult to truly translate that brilliance into words. Writing about it is like putting a genie back in a lamp and then trying to sell it to a passer buy as more than just an old bronze object. My mere words just can’t do it justice.


Every member of this cast brings to it something truly special and unique. Jennifer Steyn (as Norah the “Doll” who apparently has it all) gives a performance that will leave you envious of her talent. Martin le Maitre as her husband adds just enough chauvinistic energy that you find yourself simultaneously intrigued and disgusted. Anthea Thomspon is that crucial presence to the ‘best’ on stage sex scene you will ever see, while David Minnaar subtly becomes Death personified in a way that has only ever before appealed to me to such a degree of fascination in Terry Pratchett created world. And then there is Rob van Vuuren… he simply is the best of the best. I would go back to see this play every night, just to see him lose his mind in the most magnificent way over and over again!


Experiencing the collective energy of the cast’s top performances in a setting that can only be described as anime-meets-the-Jetsons in an alcoholic’s paradise is absolute theatre bliss. This is all courtesy of Charl-Johan Lingenfelder’s sound design, mixed with Ina Wichterich’s choreography, with the added magic of intermittent techno light explosion by Wolf Britz.


A Doll’s House will leave you surprised, mesmerised and just plain baffled as you see the superficial bubble burst with the realisation of the truth in Death’s revelation: no one can escape the consequences of their choices… or can they?


Book now at Computicket to see this truly vivid and exquisitely outrageous staging of A Doll’s House at the Baxter Theatre before run ends 24 March 2016.




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