'A Doll's House' - Press Night Reviews II

Kelman and Nora. Neil Kelman

Part I: Aye


The British Theatre Guide:
A Doll's House
The couple's nemesis is former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston, playing Neil Kelman. This rough Lancastrian is supposed to be a senior MP who has just lost his job to Thomas after the revelation of an unstated financial scandal. However, his demeanour would make him an unlikely political bigwig in any era, let alone the late Victorian period.
Under the direction of Kfir Yefet, Miss Anderson only gets into top gear in an explosive final scene, while Christopher Eccleston is also at his best when storming around.
Official London Theatre Guide:
First Night Feature: A Doll's House
A Doll's House is also about love. Christine, the drably-dressed, penniless widow who married for money, believes in it. Kelman, after raging against Nora with an imposing physicality, is softened by it. But where love should be – in a marriage which has borne two young children – there is only its image.
A Doll's House
Ibsen's money-lending Krogstad is now Kelman, a wildly aggrieved politician, himself accused of fraud, who has been supplanted by Thomas. Kicking over a chair and slamming a book against the wall of designer Anthony Ward's handsome oval room, Christopher Eccleston bristles with end-of-his-tether desperation. But his D.H. Lawrence manner and language ("I'd still have your husband by the testicles") seem too modern and wildly unlikely for a successful politician.

Helmer Yefet is clearly intent upon delineating everyone's defining characteristics. But underlining can lead to undermining. Eccleston's rage is so fully stated -- again, too little for audiences to discover -- that his transition to grateful lover of Tara Fitzgerald's nicely pinched but similarly blunt Christine feels implausible.
Times Online. The Times:
A Doll's House at Donmar Warehouse, WC2 ***--

Times Online. The Sunday Times:
A Doll's House at Donmar Warehouse, WC2 ****-

The Independent on Sunday:
A Doll's House, Donmar, et al.

Chris Eccleston and Gillian Anderson in 'A Doll's House'


The Observer:
A Doll's House, et al.
Christopher Eccleston, the blackmailer who is here an ousted politician, is unremittingly ferocious, and Tara Fitzgerald unstintingly bleak as the poor friend. No one has more than one character line to follow. Everyone is emphatic, and that lowers the voltage.
London Evening Standard:
A Doll's House has a modern agenda ***--
It seems absurd, too, that Christine should have considered Kelman the love of her life but had no idea of a way to find him. How hard can it have been to track down a Cabinet minister in 1909? None of this detracts from the performances, which are impressive.

As Nora, Gillian Anderson is poised and affecting. Fitzgerald is subtle. Eccleston, though miscast, exudes virile menace [...]
Playing Ibsen For Laughs
Christopher Eccleston has hysterics twice and throws the furniture around. Lots of rage, not much range.
Theatre Review: A Doll's House @ the Donmar Warehouse
But it was Christopher Eccleston we were eager to see. He played the disgraced MP Neil Kelman (Krogstad from the original) as that same manic Mancunian he seems to be hired to do these days; all flared nostrils, bared teeth, hands pulling desperately through his Hitler-esque haircut. He was excellent, but we were longing to see him do something a bit different.
The Stage:
A Doll's House
Eccleston's Kelman, here an MP whose career has been destroyed in the wake of fraud allegations, is appropriately out of place. His thick Manchester accent a pewter tankard among the cut-glass voices of the rest of the cast. But this extends to his relationship with the audience. He plays him brash and punchy but there is at no time any sympathy for the character and he fails to generate a third dimension. Not even when Tara Fitzgerald, as the widowed Christine, declares her love for the man she might have saved from breaking. Christine is a stiff old maid, whose life has made her elderly before her time, and while Fitzgerald lets her warm heart beat through, the declaration of love for Kelman never quite rings true. It gives the final act of the play a slightly cobbled together feel.
The London Paper:
Theatre review of Ibsen's A Doll's House at Donmar Warehouse ****-
Eccleston's Kelman lacks sufficient menace, flailing around like an aggressive scarecrow [...]