Martha Burns and Alice Snaden perform in A Doll’s House: Part 2, which runs through Oct. 14 at the Belfry Theatre. Photo contributed

REVIEW: A Doll’s House: Part 2 at the Belfry revisits fractured relationships

Sheila Martindale finds the characters in this imagined sequel engaging and accessible

Sheila Martindale

Monday Magazine contributor

Four talented and competent actors; a clever script; wonderful direction; an hour and a half without intermission – this is the recipe for an amazing and thoroughly enjoyable piece of theatre!

Playwright Lucas Hnath has written a marvelous play as a ‘follow-up’ to Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

He imagines that Nora comes back after 15 years to tie up some loose ends, having found out that somehow she is still married to her overbearing and sanctimonius husband. She interacts separately with the man, the daughter and the nanny. Each of these people brings wisdom and insight to their dialogue with Nora, and each reveals a different and interesting facet of their personalities, as they discuss the effect Nora’s abandonment has had on them.

Nora is played brilliantly by Martha Burns; though we seriously wonder how she could leave three very young children, we applaud her decision to do so and find ourselves cheering her on from the sidelines. Her facial expressions alone are worth the ticket price.

Barbara Gordon portrays Anne Marie, the nanny, in a very empathetic way. We learn how she had to abandon her own child in order to work for a living, bringing up Nora’s three children instead.

Emmy, the daughter, is a wonderful surprise as a confident young woman who is happily entering a marriage herself; Alice Snaden handles this role with consummate skill. The husband, with Benedict Campbell as this character, demands our sympathy and understanding as he shows his vulnerable side as well as his injured pride. We cannot help but engage with one or all of these people.

A Doll’s House, Part 2 is a great play to open the season at the Belfry. Make a conscious effort not to miss it! It runs until Oct. 14, but get your tickets early to avoid disappointment. Call 250-385-6815 to reserve or visit belfry.bc.ca.

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