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A Doll’s House: Treating a Lady as a Doll isn’t Always a Compliment

By • Aug 13th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Nova Woodbridge Theatre Group’s production of A Doll’s House [MP3 5:28 1.6MB].

Laura: We saw the opening night performance of Nova Woodbridge Theatre Group‘s production of A Doll’s House.

Mike: A Doll’s House is a play written by Henrick Ibsen in 1879. It is considered to be his most famous play. A Doll’s House is a criticism of the traditional roles of men and women in a Victorian marriage. It was actually quite controversial when it first came out because it did not have the traditional happy ending. The story revolves around Nora Helmer who has taken out a loan under false pretenses. Her husband is a banker. He, of, course has very rigid views on the propriety of the household and the role of women and men in society. Nora gets blackmailed by an employee of her husband. She has to decide what to do and how he treats her and about this actual loan she has made. It’s a fascinating study about the roles of men and women.

Laura: I enjoyed watching A Doll’s House very much. The group at the Nova Woodbridge Theatre Group does good shows. I liked how everybody acted together. I enjoyed the scene actually towards the end of the play between the Helmers and their discussion of future events and that kind of thing. The second and third acts were much better. The first act seemed to run a bit long. I think everybody was kind of warming up and getting used to the audience because things were much better in the second and third acts.

Mike: This was a really good show. The first act was really slow, I hate to say. That’s just the way it is in all these character driven text heavy shows where you have to figure out who everybody is. The only way to do that is to talk about them. The show was, with two intermissions, a total of about two hours and forty minutes. The show started about twenty minutes late. Hopefully it will start on time in the future and you’ll be out of there in less than two and a half hours.

Laura: The role of Nora Helmer was played by McCall N. Farrell. I really liked her performance. She showed a lot of emotion, with a lot of nervousness, a lot of wanting to be the dutiful wife and mother. Not really knowing what her role was in the family. But she gave a good performance. I enjoyed watching the end, not wanting to give away the plot. But I enjoyed the scene at the end where she confronted her husband with some things that had been going on and their resolution to those problems.

Mike: And Nora’s husband, Torvald, was played by Brian Doyle. He did a good job, too. He really was a priggish little banker person. Laura was really annoyed at him at the first intermission. She was just kind of getting mad at me a little bit. We kind of teased each other about that. He did a really good job. I didn’t realize this until we got home and I was looking at the playbill more closely. Nora and Torvald were engaged in real life. So that was sweet, but they did a pretty good job together. They definitely, I don’t know if that’s from the acting or just being together in real life, but they were a nice married couple.

Laura: A friend of Nora Helmer was Christine Linde. She was played by Michel Izquieta. I liked her performance, she did a good job. She had a lot of emotion. She wanted to help her friend, but at the same time she wanted to do the right thing. She also had kind of a side plot going on her own with one of the other characters that they had a really good scene together when the past came to light a little bit. So I liked watching her and her emotions very much.

Mike: The family friend of the Helmer’s was Dr. Rank, played by Martin Brown. He was an older gentleman, a medical doctor. He was facing death on his own. In that society you didn’t share lot of intimate details of your life with others. It was very nice watching the scene with him talking with Nora about his physical problems. Watching his discomfort in sharing the details was quite effective. At the same time you could feel that he really was, to a point, regretting that he didn’t have a closer relationship with Norea and that he couldn’t because she was already married. That was a really well done scene.

Laura: I also really liked the set of A Doll’s House. It was one set, but it was situated in such a way that there were multiple entrances and exits.

Mike: One thing that was just kind of funny was the set was one of the best ones we’ve ever seen at the Nova Woodbridge Theatre Group. But one of the small touches they missed was there were no lamps in the room. Since in a few of the scenes they did carry in some oil lamps, it would have been nice if they had had a few scattered maybe on some of the tables. Even lit would have been really nice.

Laura: A Doll’s House is playing for the next two weekends. Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and Sundays at 2 PM. I recommend you see this show because I really think you’ll enjoy it and it will give you a lot to talk about on the way home.

Mike: If you’ve seen the show feel free to leave comments about anything we may have left out about the thoughts about the show or if you’d like to say we were wrong on something this is your chance to do it. Just go to and enter a comment on our review.

Laura: We’d also like to invite you to join our free mailing list so that you can receive updates about information in the Northern Virginia, DC metro area. Just go to

Mike: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

3 Responses »

  1. Thanks for the great review and it’s always a pleasure having you out. I am wondering why there is no mention (good or bad) of Krogstad being the impetus for the changes?

  2. Thanks for the kind words about the set…and the hint about the oil lamps…I’ll see if I can work them in without messing the actors up and catching anything on fire. I am a little bit sad that I wasn’t credited with the set, nor mentioned in the review at all (in either a good or bad way). Nils is slightly the motivating factor in the whole thing and it looks like he doesn’t exist. 😉

  3. You’re right, we dropped the ball on mentioning Krogstad (played by Brett Bartosavage) when we referred to him in passing twice. We don’t want the reviews to be an inventory of all the people in a show, so we consciously chose to discuss more fully the main characters Nora and Torvalds and two other supporting characters, Dr. Rank and Christine.

    We will try to remember to mention the set designer by name when we really like the set. As we said, this was one of the, if not the, best sets we’ve seen at NWTG.