Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 classic is updated to early 1960s Manhattan in Infamous Commonwealth’s latest effort. Christopher Hampton’s adaptation of the proto-feminist story is set at the dawning of twentieth-century American feminism to great effect.
Childlike Nora (Kate Cares) borrows money from shady Krogstad (Josh Atkins) to save her ill husband Torvald (Stephen Dunn). Krogstad threatens to expose her actions; Nora, fearing the scandal, struggles with the consequences.
Chris Maher’s direction keeps the tale moving briskly; Rachel Sypniewski’s costumes and Kathy Arfken’s set highlight the “Mad Men”-esque lines and colors of the period. Cares captures Nora’s warmhearted naiveté and deftly handles her sudden transition to maturity. Dunn’s condescension and misguided affection drew gasps from the audience. Atkins’ villain poses a credible threat yet manages to remain a sympathetic character. Mark Shallow’s sardonic family friend acts as an accurate reminder of the poisonous effects of dishonesty and immorality in a family. (Lisa Buscani)
Infamous Commonwealth Theatre at The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 North Lincoln, (773)404-7336. Through February 27.