A Doll's House

The Royal Exchange's productions keep getting better and better. I thought it would be difficult to improve on Strindberg's Miss Julie with Maxine Peak in the lead role, but Ibsen's A Doll's House was, quite simply, brilliant.

Cush Jumbo, in the lead role of Nora was, quite simply, brilliant, and David Sturzaker as her husband, Torvald, was an excellent foil for her character. The rest of the cast supported Nora's slow awakening and the collapse of the marriage.

Ibsen's titular Doll's House represents Nora's life. It encapsulates her and everything she has ever known. She has passed from her father's care to her husband's care without ever growing up or experiencing independence. Her moral and social awakening take place during the course of the play.

Once she has realised that her views don't chime with society's, she can't find her way forward:  "I've discovered this Christmas that the law is not what I thought… and I can't accept that the law is right. If a woman cannot spare her old dying father… or save her husband's life… that can't be right."

Only Nora is courageous enough to accept the terrible consequence of her newly awakened knowledge of good and evil – exclusion from a corrupt society. By the end of the play she becomes fully human with a deep understanding of frail humanity.

"It can't be right...." echoes long after we left the theatre and returned to normal life.