Raising the Roof
Something thrilling is being done at the Watford Palace with Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. The traditional bourgeoisie clutter of Nora and Thorvald Helmer’s stifling home has been banished. Gloom and foreboding are provided by designer Stefanos Laziridis’s oppressive shiny black Norwegian pine screens that steal about, revealing ominous figures- the ghost-like Mrs. Linde (Charlotte Cornwell, mesmerizing), the sinister Krogstad (John Fortune, relentless) - eerily lit by David Cunningham.
Lou Stein’s production, in a most speakable version by Maggie Wadey, of one of the greatest- that is best and most relevant to our times- modern classics, is expressionist and pointed. At the end, when Susan Penhaligon’s Nora prepares to walk out on her marriage and children the walls of the house part to release her, the roof literally lifts up to allow in fresh air, then crashed back into place when she is gone.
At the centre of the stage is th e sealed letterbox, containing but revealing Krogstad’s fatal letter, for all to bear witness to. Thus, in a production more exciting than any thriller, we are each implicated in the stirrings of female assertiveness.
Giles Gordon The Evening Standard
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“Lou Stein’s regime is keeping up Watford’s reputation for an intelligently innovative repertory”.
“The panel considers the Palace one of the leading and most successful theatres in the country.”
The Arts Council of England Appraisal Team