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Hedda Gabler

5
The NT production seen via NT Live at the local Odeon.
By Robert Iles

Hedda GablerRuth Wilson leads the cast in the adaptation of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler which director Ivo Van Hove has brought up to date and set in a contemporary apartment. A large set allows space for the characters to create space (even absence) whilst still appearing as Hedda's self-imposed prison - though this is somewhat undermined in the broadcast during tight cropped shots. Both controlling and vulnerable, Ruth gives a masterly performance, brilliant and so satisfying to watch. 

Unafraid of the silence, the production has good pace and quickly draws you in. The relationships Hedda has formed with Lovborg (Chukwudi Iwuji), Brack (Rafe Spall) and finally her academic husband (Kyle Soller) drive her through passion, lies and boredom to an horrific, but inevitable, conclusion. Mrs Elvsted (Sinead Matthews) is played suitably week and "clingy" without appealing to our sympathies while Berte, the maid (Eva Magyar) who is ever present, sees and hears all but keeps her secrets - a difficult role being still almost throughout. Juliana (Kate Duchene) completes this superb cast - a small but crucial role, the only upbeat person in the whole sorry mess. 

Curiously, given the relationship between Brack and Hedda, the screen next door was showing 50 Shades Darker and you could occasionally hear the soundtrack through the walls - one of the downsides of our local aged cinema!

A superb production from the National Theatre - I look forward to also seeing this live with the (presumably re-cast) tour later in the year .


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