DramaReviewSouth Coast

Hedda Gabler – Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury

Writer: Henrik Ibsen adapted by Brian Friel
Director: Gareth Machin
Reviewer: Sharon MacDonald-Armitage

 

Gareth Machin has a sure-fire hit on his hands with Salisbury Playhouse’s fabulous production of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. From the Nordic inspired set of the Tesman home with its floating lace curtains and translucent walls that give a hint of mystery, to the atmospheric lighting reflecting the moods of the characters this is a polished and smooth running production.

Taking on the lead role of Hedda, Kirsty Bushell strides and paces across the stage with gusto and, while demonstrating the feisty nature of a woman way beyond her time, she exhibits a sexy magnetism that attracts men like the proverbial moth to a flame. This is a role Bushell adopts with consummate ease and her nuance of touch is mesmerising. Ben Caplan excels as her naïve but over-exuberant husband, George Tesman, and his inability to see anything wrong with Hedda’s sharp and cruel retorts towards his Aunt Ju-Ju (Jane Wymark) and her loyal companion Bertha (Petra Markham) is painful to watch.

For every alluring woman there needs to be men that are attracted to her and this is evident in Judge Brack and Eilert Loevborg. Played with just the right amount of creepiness, David Bark-Jones as the judge hovers like a shadow over the spirited Hedda, who he clearly longs to dominate. Loevborg however, is not only attracted to Hedda but succumbs to her wish for a beautiful end. Damian Humbley epitomises the somewhat emotional Loevborg who seems to be far more settled while attached and working withThea Elvsted (Kemi-Bo Jacobs) than he is around Hedda.

This is a production that is rather difficult to find fault with. A cast of superb actors, a realistic set design that may not appeal to those who look for something a little different but serves well for those who like a traditional feel and lighting that reflects the emotions of the piece.

Runs until 2 April 2016 |Image: Contributed

 

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