Hedda Gabler is not a play to enjoy or feel comfortable whilst watching and this production doesn’t let you down. It deals with human behaviours that none of us can be proud of. “Good god, people don’t do such things”. This being the very last line of Ibsen’s play and a contradictory summation because in life, as in this play ‘Hedda Gabler’ they do, not everyone goes along with social norms.
Hedda Gabler is a complex character her motivations at first are not obvious but as the play progresses with fine acting by Lizzy Watts it becomes clearer. I have to be honest I would have loved to see Ruth Wilson in the London production, totally brilliant in Luther by all accounts she was a fabulous Hedda.
The set used for this play is contemporary with the props playing their part too in telling the story, Hedda displays her frustration with the blinds on the window might be the scene I remember most, the nightdress too plays it part which is worn throughout!
Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ and ‘Hallelujah’ the Jeff Buckley version and an underlying note on the piano throughout the last half of the play was a highlight. My daughter if she had been able to attend would have smiled at the non Ibsen line “good point well made”.
Ibsen was a great playwright dealing with the darker side of everyday life, if you do fancy being a bit out of your comfort zone and wondering whether it’s right to laugh , go see Hedda Gabler at Nottingham Theatre Royal till Saturday 10th Feb along with lots of students who I guess are covering this for their A level English for whom I feel this production was aimed. The tickets start at £5 for students.
(Henrik Ibsen, in a new version by Patrick Marber) from the National Theatre.
Review by Ann Taylor