In moving the production to a larger venue, some of the play’s more intimate and introspective qualities feel slightly compromised, some of the nuance and subtlety of Kincaid’s work harder to appreciate, some of the quieter dialogue occasionally obscured (at least from where I happened to be seated in the balcony, underneath the theater’s rumbling heating ducts).
“A Doll’s House, Part 2,” a co-production of Aurora Theatre and Actor’s Express, features Deadra Moore (left) and Tess Malis Kincaid. CONTRIBUTED BY CASEY GARDNER
The Nora who returns is not necessarily the same Nora who left those many years ago. The rest of the town has been led to presume that she’s dead. For her part, Nora has simply presumed that she’s divorced. In fact, neither presumption is right. The author of a semiautobiographical best-selling novel about a wayward (ex-)wife and mother, she has indulged in a number of free-spirited affairs that suddenly qualify as “criminal,” once she discovers she’s still legally married to Torvald, who never actually filed for divorce.
Rob Cleveland plays the husband a bit too affably. He’s most serviceable in capturing the flustered, overtly comedic aspects newly imposed on the character by Hnath, but he doesn’t delve deeply enough to really justify Torvald’s professed regrets about life, or to suggest many of the domineering and condescending traits that provoked Nora to leave him in the first place.
Faring better are Deadra Moore as the family’s sensible housekeeper and nanny, and the especially resourceful Shelli Delgado as the cunning young daughter Nora has never known — and in whom she’s dismayed to find a chip off the old block, revealing shades of her former self.
“A Doll’s House, Part 2” may not challenge as potently or endure for as long as the Ibsen original, but there isn’t much doubt that Ashley’s exceedingly polished Express/Aurora production does score as a certifiable showcase for the formidable Kincaid — delivering a performance that ranks among her very best, if not one for the ages.
“A Doll’s House, Part 2”
Through Feb. 10. 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. $39-$55. 10 a.m. Tuesday (Jan. 22 only, $20-$26). Aurora Theatre, 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222, auroratheatre.com.
Bottom line: Not quite as intimate the second time around, but still bristling.
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