Play of the Week: A Doll's House, Young Vic, London SE1


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The Independent Culture

Audiences may be divided as to whether Ian MacNeil's revolving design puts a fresh spin on Ibsen's great play or gives it a series of unnecessary funny turns.

Instead of being confined to one room, this powerful revival, cannily directed by Carrie Cracknell, rotates through a cross-section of the cramped Helmer apartment. Some shifts break the flow but the moody whirling pulls us into the agitated nervous system of the heroine, Nora, and her dread that her husband will discover she is paying off a debt with which she bought the sabbatical that saved his life.

But no one could be in two minds about how Simon Stephens's new version introduces contemporary notes that re-sensitise you to how these issues are far from done and dusted. Or about the performances: Hattie Morahan is brilliantly brittle as Nora, while Dominic Rowan brings out the black comedy in Torvald, making you laugh with disbelief as he reveals the extent of his priggish self-righteousness.

(020 7922 2922; to 4 Aug