Review: Queensland Figaro, Saturday 3 November 1928
The members of the Brisbane Repertory Society may congratulate themselves upon the excellent performance of Ibsen's celebrated play, "A Doll's House", which took place at His Majesty's Theatre last Friday, before a crowded and most appreciative audience. Those of us who are old enough to remember the vehement adverse criticism which shook public opinion when Ibsen first published his highly provocative dramas, will also remember the production of "A Doll's House" in Brisbane, when the celebrated English actress Janet Achurch gave an unforgettable study of "Nora", the child-wife, who had so little comprehension of legal right and wrong, as to forge her husband's signature and thus obtain £250 from an unscrupulous money-lender, in order to give her husband the sea-voyage which was the only means of restoring him to health.
Miss Norma Guilfoy, as "Nora", gave an intelligent and convincing reading of the part. In the earlier scenes she was the guileless and obedient wife, trying to delude herself into security from the blackmailing Krogstad, while enduring agonies of dread; in the final act, when she realises the true character of her pompous, self-righteous husband, and asserts her right "to find herself", she rose splendidly to the occasion. Mr Edgar Smith's "Torvald Helmer" was excellent, and as the priggish "lord and master" type of husband that flourished in Victorian days, he presented a clever study.
Miss Mary Kessell was a pathetic "Mrs Linden", and showed a depth of feeling in her great scene with "Krogstad", that evoked the enthusiasm of the audience. Mr Leo Guyatt invested "Krogstad" with the requisite amount of bluff that would logically be shown by a man fighting for his rehabilitation in the eyes of the world, and was not unduly vindictive. Mr George Eaton played "Dr. Rank", with his customary skill and grasp of character that his audience have learned to expect from him. The Misses Ida Haussmann and Esther Jones were entirely adequate in their parts, and three charming children, Ralph Bick, Margaret Hawken, and Joan Salkeld, appeared as the little Helmers in the first act. The dressing and staging was of the fashion of the early eighties, and proved an amusing contrast to those of today.
Miss Barbara Sisley and Miss Rhoda Felgate, the joint producers, are to be sincerely congratulated upon the success of the performance. "A Doll's House" was an ambitious venture, but the Repertory Society has entirely justified the choice.