Theatre907 entries

Hedda Gabler

Opens: 05/09/2012 Closes: 10/11/2012 Old Vic, London
Sheridan Smith is a long way from Gavin & Stacey in this starring role, sometimes dubbed the ‘female Hamlet'. Following an Olivier-winning stint in West End hit Legally Blonde, her take on possibly the most troubled of Ibsen's middle-class women will come under some scrutiny - it doesn't get much more serious than a Brian Friel adaptation of the 1890 realist tragedy. For more information visit: http://www.oldvictheatre.com/hedda-gabler-2/ Buy: http://bookings.oldvictheatre.com/single/psDetail.aspx?psn=15191
60%
The British Theatre Guide“The full, bittersweet grandeur of Ibsen's original can be glimpsed....” While this may not be the best Hedda Gabler that you could ever see, it effortlessly holds the attention for three hours, mainly through comedy.
 
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80 %
Financial Times“A riveting and revelatory production...” The play's biggest stumbling block is the mismatch between Hedda and her kindly, mediocre academic husband: why on earth has she married him? One of the strengths of Anna Mackmin's fine, psychologically astute production, is that we understand why.
 
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80 %
Time Out“Powerfully conveyed...” With cold eyes and dagger smiles, Smith isn't the most demonstrative Hedda - at least not early on - but she is a thoroughly disconcerting one, her every utterance a cool, calculated mix of tease and threat. She exudes smooth menace from the off.
 
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80 %
The Arts Desk“Swift wit and repartee...” Mackmin and Friel’s pacing allows for a steadily rising acceleration that bursts into brutal climax almost before we realise it. The monotone gabblings of the opening give way to a gradually extending range of emotion and expression.
 
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80 %
Evening Standard“Simply thrilling...” Mackmin's interpretation succeeds in feeling both Victorian and urgently modern. More than ever the play comes across as a study of a woman doomed to be a misfit. Smith’s admirable performance is its beating heart.
 
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90%
The Stage“Smith emerges triumphant...” She maintains a brooding, palpable tension throughout, delicately sustained in Anna Mackmin’s production that set against Lez Brotherston’s whitewashed box set that has been extended outside the proscenium. Billowing curtains set the scene...
 
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60%
The Independent“Damagingly deficient in tension...” There seems to be little going on under the archly appraising smile, so that you get the odd impression of vacancy rather than of a complex woman mystified and stricken by a conscious inner emptiness...
 
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60%
Whatsonstage.com“Many of the great passages sound new-minted...” Smith is never fully commanding as a woman seizing her own destiny after that tedious honeymoon with George Tesman. She's a butterfly spirit, not an exotic bird. And she's curiously muffled when she pushes her voice out...
 
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80 %
The Telegraph“Some may quarrel with this thrilling new production...” Smith's Hedda has a doll-like beauty and a smile that she turns on and off like a switch. Smith brings terrific poise and style to the role but also something I feared might be beyond her – entirely credible malevolence...
 
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60%
Guardian“Mackmin's cleverly staged finale subverts the usual expectations...” Sheridan Smith performs the feat with commendable ease and agility. But Anna Mackmin's very good production is marred by the tendency of Brian Friel's new version to spell out things Ibsen left implicit...
 
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