[8] A DOLL’S HOUSE (EgoPo Classic Theatre): Fringe review

A Doll's House, EgoPo, Philadelphia Fringe review.A DOLL’S HOUSE, Henrik Ibsen’s classic tale of female confinement, is ripe for adaptation to the world of a teenage girl: the claustrophobia of a man’s world, the need to be physically appealing, a clear-sighted view of your place in society and an urge to change that place. But EgoPo’s reimagining, a one-woman show staring (teenager) Mackenzie Maula as a teenage Nora, mostly fails to take advantage of the possible subtext.

This is not the fault of Maula, an admirably precocious actor who brings to life all the “little people” surrounding Nora (her husband, her male blackmailer, an older male admirer, her maid, and her female childhood friend), using a collection of dolls and other props. But Ibsen’s story is told straight, with scant indication of what this playacting means to the young girl, what resonance it has outside her world of make-believe. Lacking these stakes, and stripped of the interpersonal stakes which Ibsen intends, the production succeeds neither as a provocative reinvention nor a satisfying straight staging (cf. the recent production at Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion). Of course, Ibsen’s text remains devastating and Maula’s commitment can’t help but impress, but A DOLL’S HOUSE is more than just toys and games. [Adrienne Theatre] September 4-22, 2013. fringearts.ticketleap.com/a-dolls-house.

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