REVIEW: Hedda Gabler, This is Not a Love Story, Northern Stage
Loud percussion music, passionate, emotive, intense, sets the atmosphere, from the off. Hedda, an aristocrat's daughter, marries an academic, Tessman and for her, life is over as she knew it.
A former school friend has left her husband and co-habits with Ejlert, Hedda's former lover, who has written a successful book and a potential treat to Tesman professionally.
Jealousy overtakes Hedd'as actions with serious results; a family 'friend' the devious Judge Brack exposes true events, lurking behind the social facade.
The first act introduces the characters and background setting the scene for the second act, when the real story unfolds.
Ed Gaughan plays a very believable, humorous Tesman with all the naivety of an academic lost in his own world, while Scott Turnbull, as Ejlert, comes into his own in the second half with a wide range of emotions.
Donald McBride playing Brack, from his first animated entrance, brings unhanded reason to the proceedings. Rachel Dening, playing Thea, provides balance to the irrational Hedda Polly Frame as maid Berte delivers much humour.
Greyscale Artistic Director, selma Dimitrijevic wrote and directed this new adaption of Henrik Ibsen's classic play.
While he wrote 'Hedda Gabler' in 1891, its central theme hold's true for many women today who are still trapped in a world not of their making.If you were told how to dress, speak, behave, told you were something you were not, what would you do?
Some of Hedda's inner feelings are portrayed during a red light periodically bathing the set, with the other actors frozen. This symbolic device replaces actual action.
Hedda is known as the female 'Hamlet', great actors like Bergman, Jackson and Maggie Smith have played her; Vicky Elliot grabs this iconic role by the throat; unpredictable, hard to please, manipulative, deeply lonely and not very nice.
Ibsen said he wanted to depict human beings, emotions and destinies in this play, well they are depicted here and well worth seeing, "I am not free at all" says Hedda, well if you are free, go and see where her desire for freedom takes her.
Runs until March 8