It is easy to see why Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House was so groundbreaking in its day: the ending alone would have been scandalous enough in 19th century society to raise a few eyebrows.

The play was tackled by Cowes Amateur and Operatic Dramatic Society at Trinity Theatre.

Set in Norway, the play centres around married couple Torvald and Nora Helmer, who with their children – although these are neither seen nor heard within the play, perhaps another commentary on society at the time - at first glance seem to be the epitome of a happy family.

And therein lies the problem: it is very much ‘at first glance’.

Nora, who even in the programme is defined by the words ‘his wife’ in relation to Helmer, was played by Rebecca Lennon, and her shift from acquiescence to independence was a joy to watch. Her performance was nuanced, and against Kevin Wilson’s uncomfortably controlling and oftentimes weaselly Torvald Helmer her struggle was well-portrayed indeed.

Isle of Wight County Press: Kevin Wilson and Rebecca Lennon in A Dolls' HouseKevin Wilson and Rebecca Lennon in A Dolls' House (Image: CAODS)

There are no ‘simple’ character within this play, and Martyn Stanley as Dr Rank and Nessa Law as Nora’s Kristine Linde both gave solid performances, with a genuine warmth about them.

Philip Barker as stony-faced Nils Krogstad worked well against Nessa’s more passionate Linde, and provided a convincing pseudo-villain in Act 1 and much of Act 2, his overt blackmail misdirecting the audience from Kevin’s softer-spoken, but in reality more controlling, Helmer.

Supporting appearances from Carolyn Ferguson and Anne Walpole as maids Anne-Marie and Helene finished off the cast nicely. A mention must also go to the costumes and set, both wonderful.

The split stage and altered layout of Trinity’s seating made it feel as though the audience was sitting in the Helmers’ front room, to great effect.

That said, whilst the centralisation of characters in some scenes for certain lines undoubtedly brought focus to key dialogue and moments, it was sometimes at the cost of a scene reaching its full emotional charge.

Director Amanda Robertson’s love for the play was evident, and the sharp intakes of breath and disbelieving laughs that peppered the performance – and the discussions on control and coercion overheard on the way out - prove that A Doll’s House continues to resonate with audiences today.