A Doll's House, Norwich

MIRANDA YATES Ibson's great “play of modern life”, in which a young wife takes money matters into her own hands and shakes off the shackles of her marriage, is hardly a shocker nowadays.

MIRANDA YATES

Ibson's great “play of modern life”, in which a young wife takes money matters into her own hands and shakes off the shackles of her marriage, is hardly a shocker nowadays.

But the horrors of sexual inequality are not so far behind the door that we can't empathise with the claustrophobia of Nora Torvald's Doll's House.

In this production, Jason Ion's powder-blue set is eerily fragile and seems to shake with the force of the doorbell.

The austerity of the few pieces of doll's furniture hint at Torvald's flimsy social status and serve to point up the naivety of Nora's financial optimism.

Nola Merckel plays an edgy and capricious Nora, whose moods of vanity, fake jollity and sudden clear-sighted despair are overwritten by a bottled energy which spills out on to the stage and sweeps the audience into it.

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Trevor Markworth is an unusually young Torvald and it does work because we aren't given the chance to excuse him his denial of his wife's personal freedom, on the grounds of his age. Markworth makes his voice heard above his wife's chirruping by adopting a flat tone so you feel that they are both putting it on, which, of course, they are.

Escape the Doll's House one night and look in on this production which runs at the Maddermarket Theatre until February 2.