Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Nora, Belvoir

Belvoir's return to Ibsen after last month's Hedda Gabler is, alas, another miss. Anne-Louise Sarks does at least understand pace and tension and keeps her drama flowing relatively well, and for most of act one (a tight modernisation of "A Doll's House") she holds together well the story of a wife (Blazey Best) reaching the point of frustration with her husband (Damien Ryan) that means she must walk away from her home forever.

The problem is, what comes next. Again, this may be advertising, the question posed is "what happens after she leaves her husband and children". And the answer in this case is .. not a lot. The choice to go with "immediately after" and have the entire second act be her conversation with a friend (Linda Cropper) in which we learn, not surprisingly, that her options are limited, means it's not a particularly dramatic resolution. While the notorious Broadway flop "A Doll's Life" took Nora into ridiculous adventures in industry and mutiple subsequent romances, at least it took her on a journey. "Nora" just seems to dump her on a couch for fourty minutes.

It's a pity - Blazey Best is a hell of a strong performer, and both surpresses her frustrations and lets them flow out of her in act one when the time comes wonderfully - her silent dancing moment in particular draws the audience in. But not coming up with anything interesting to happen in Act Two is, ultimately, a fatal flaw that kills the show. Cropper and Best drive it reasonably and for a while you hold out hope that this is going to go somewhere ... but it never really does.

So, no, not recommended.

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