Review: A Doll’s House, Part 2 at B Street Theatre

A Doll’s House, Part 2

Just a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world.

Just a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world.

Photo by Rudy Meyers Photography

Showtimes: Wed 2pm & 6:30pm, Thu 8pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 5pm & 9pm, Sun 2pm, Tue 6:30pm. Through 4/7; $28-$47; B Street Theatre, 2700 Capitol Avenue, (916) 443-5300;
Rated 5.0

Nora returns! Knock, knock, KNOCK! A front door vibrates with the sounds of someone arriving at the Helmer household. It’s the same door through which wife and mother Nora famously departed 15 years earlier—the shocking ending to Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 play A Doll’s House.

At the time, Ibsen’s play was considered groundbreaking because of Nora’s refusal to accept her rigid role as wife to an emotionally abusive husband. The curtain goes down as she leaves her life behind.

Curtain goes up again in Lucas Hnath’s Tony nominated play A Doll’s House, Part 2, which imagines the story years later as Nora drops by the family she left behind. But you don’t have to be familiar with the original to appreciate Hnath’s witty and thoughtful script.

The four characters in A Doll’s House, Part 2 are forces to be reckoned with, each presenting the losses, gains, regrets and fall outs that followed Nora’s departure. You need a resilient and talented cast to hold your own while portraying such strong-willed characters who constantly parry with each other. Thankfully, B Street Theatre has assembled an ace team, with Melinda Parrett as Nora, Brian Dykstra as husband Torvald, Tara Sissom as daughter Emmy and Stephanie McVay as Nanny Anne Marie.

Director Dave Pierini keeps the cast on task—a challenge when a play calls for each character to show their weaknesses and faults along with their non-apologetic strengths and stubbornness. There are no easy answers or endings, no right or wrong decisions, just an examination of lives lived, decisions made and the consequences that come with both.