Nora Helmer reaches up, easily grips the ceiling, lifts herself, dances a quick tango with her legs as she lowers herself back the ground. In Jo Strømgren Kompani’s 60-minute A DOLL’S HOUSE, Suli Holum offers a formidable Nora. Her middle-class and nonetheless deadly problems storm under projected frivolity, a charming persona. She plays entertainer, master of her domain, not often boxed in by what could be an extremely claustrophobic set—two tiny rooms in comically exaggerated forced perspective, so much so that a single door between them becomes two, angled away from one-another; chairs the size of elementary schoolroom seats.
Artistic director Strømgren designs his own sets, and anyone who saw The Society two years ago knows that his designs are incredibly economical. This is not to say minimalistic, but rather that there is not a surface unused. If a box is right side up, you can pretty much be sure that you’ll see the bottom of it at some point. The result is an incredibly interactive environment that transforms itself with dancerly grace. Fringe audiences will also recognize a Pig Ironish theatricality (Holum is that company’s former artist director), blending many different types of performance to create a tactile and memorable whole; Strømgren’s theater is human and multifaceted, lighthearted and ironic, narrative with a dancer’s expression of character. [FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] September 4-6, 2015; fringearts.com/a-dolls-house.