BWW Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2 Opens At The Unicorn Theatre In Kansas City
A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2 opened Saturday, October 19 on the Jerome Stage of the Unicorn Theatre and runs through November 10. Darren Sextro who directed A DOLL'S HOUSE at the City Stage, where it was produced by the Kansas City Actor's Theatre directs the sequel which takes place 15 years after the end of the original play.
In my review of A DOLL'S HOUSE written by Henrik Ibsen, I described the play as suspenseful, thought-provoking and at times humorous. Unfortunately, only part of that description also describes A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2, it is at times humorous. I found A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2 written by Lucas Hnath to be a long, tedious, and annoying 90-minute family disturbance. Oh yes, and at times slightly humorous. The 85-minute production is done without an intermission but maybe should have one so that some members of the audience can leave and not be forced to endure the constant bickering and shouting.
The play has only four characters; Nora the wife who left her family at the conclusion of the original play, Torvald the husband she left behind, Anne Marie the housekeeper who ended up raising Nora's children, and Emmy the daughter she hasn't seen in 15 years. Regrettably, none of the four are likable. The characters are manipulative, conniving, and self-centered (not to mention loud).
The Unicorn production is very well produced, it is the play that is irritating. Nora, an author, and activist for women's rights has returned to her home after discovering Torvald her husband had never gotten the divorce that she thought was final. Torvald refuses to grant her the divorce and Nora then sets out to try to persuade Anne Marie the housekeeper, and her daughter Emmy to aid her in the quest.
Manon Haliburton as Nora gives a dynamic performance switching from one emotion to the next naturally and without hesitation. Manon has performed at the Unicorn many times, including last season's THE EFFECT. She has appeared on television in Law and Order and The Sopranos. She has recently finished filming a full-length feature film, I Am Lisa, due out next year.
Logan Black makes a fantastic return to the Unicorn as Torvald. At the Unicorn, he has previously appeared in BOND, AN OCTOROON, AND SEMINAR. He has performed with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the Kansas City Actor's Theatre, and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival among others.
Kathleen Warfel gives a brilliant performance as Anne Marie. She has appeared at the Unicorn in PROJECT DAWN, GRAY GARDENS, RABBIT HOLE, OMNIUM GATHERUM, BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE, KEELEY & DU, AND BURN THIS. She has performed with New Theatre Restaurant, Starlight, and KC Rep.
Emmy is marvelously played by Marisa B. Tejeda. She is a 2nd-year student of the MFA Acting Program at UMKC Conservatory. Regionally she has appeared with the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.
A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2 continues at the Unicorn Theatre through November 10. To purchase tickets online go to www.unicorntheatre.org.
Photos courtesy of The Unicorn Theatre