My excitement was finally satisfied as I sat down and Hedda Gabler started last night at the Theatre Royal Bath. I’d been like an excited kid all week. So did it live up to my expectations?
I mainly have to read Ibsen’s plays before I ever see them performed, I really enjoy seeing a play I’ve studied performed, I find especially with Ibsen I miss some of the humour when reading his plays, the cast certainly brought out the comedy inherent in this play which gave great comic relief to the otherwise tense feeling of the play.
Rosamund Pike, was exceptional as Hedda, she performed her, with style and just the right amount of psychosis, sometimes I felt sorry for her, at other times she incensed me. A complicated character, ably acted by Rosamund Pike. Hedda is seen as an enviable and challenging role by actresses and Rosamund rose to that challenge and delivered a stellar and memorable performance. Her glamour and poise helped us to warm to her, despite her failings. Yet she showed Hedda’s manipulative and psychotic side with just the right balance, on reading and now seeing this play, I’m not 100% sure if Hedda is mentally unstable or just a selfish, lonely and desperate woman.
Tessman, Hedda’s husband was suitably played by Robert Glennister, in many ways a character just as trapped as Hedda. Judge Brack, the other part of the triangle was played with great aplomb by Tim McInnery, who gave him just the right amount of charm and slippery smarm and gave the closing line superbly with a look of horror and astonishment. Colin Tierney’s impassioned underdog performance as Loevborg, was a particular highlight, his struggles and desperate end, were genuinely brought to life. Zoe Waites provided a lovely performance as the infatuated Mrs Elvsted, while Anna Carteret and Janet Whiteside supported the action as Aunt Juliana and Bertha.
The set and lighting was functional and the sound of the burner firing up and rumbling throughout the theatre at the end of act 3 was a chilling conclusion to it.
The production is due to transfer to the West End later this year and so I recommend catching it there if you’re interested in seeing this play brought to life with a fabulous leading lady .