Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler
Director: Ivo van Hove
Writer: Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Patrick Marber
Cast: Ruth Wilson, Rafe Spall, Kyle Soller, Kate Duchêne, Sinead Matthews, Chukwudi Iwuji, Éva Magyar
Seen on: 9.3.2017

Hedda (Ruth Wilson) and her husband George (Kyle Soller) have just returned from their honeymoon. But instead of excitement about their new life together, Hedda feels nothing but bored. When George reveals that – despite his best attempts – his promotion may be at risk and that they will have to cut their spendings as well, Hedda is less than happy. The appearance of her husband’s rival Lovborg (Chukwudi Iwuji), his lover Thea (Sinead Matthews) and her husband’s friend and colleague Brack (Rafe Spall) comes just at the right time to provide her with a bit of entertainment, then.

This production of Hedda Gabler is a thing of beauty. Wonderfully acted, emotionally devastating and great stage design – there’s really nothing more you could ask for.

There are few female characters like Hedda in fiction. Or rather, we get a lot of manipulative women but rarely do we get them with such complexity. And rarely are we allowed to empathize with them without condoning their actions. But that’s just what this play allows, and van Hove and Marber give us here, making it possible for the feminist potential in the story to come out.

But of course, they would have been nothing without Ruth Wilson. The play is very much her show and honestly, she should have more shows to run like this. She was fantastic (she usually is) and every moment of her performance shines. Especially her scenes with Rafe Spall are absolutely explosive and made to stick in your mind.

The minimalist stage design allows the characters the room they need, and the few props there are, are used extremely effectively, even if some things are a little on the nose.

This production manages what only the best theater experiences can: they made me want to delve deeper into the source text and in Ibsen’s writing in general. Though I suspect that it may not be the same without Wilson (and Spall).

Summarizing: Fantastic.

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