First things first: Rosamund Pike is stunningly beautiful. And this production of Hedda Gabler is entrancing. Catch it in Nottingham til Saturday 27 March 2010.
I'll confess my ignorance of the play before seeing this production. Yes, yes, I knew OF it, but I didn't know it. And I hadn't seen it. Shame on me. (Though I was relieved to note Kris had also not seen Hedda Gabler before).
Anyway, there is MUCH to praise in this production. The costumes are wonderful - Hedda's dresses are simply breathtaking. The cast are great: Anna Carteret (the petite bourgeois Aunt Juju), Janet Whiteside (the life-long servant Berthe), Robert Glenister (the hapless George Tesman), Zoe Waites (a perfectly hysterical Mrs Elvsted), Tim McInnerny (the duplicitous and ultimately manipulative Judge Brack). Rosamund Pike makes for a transcendent Hedda Gabler: her father;s wilful daughter, longing for stimulation, callous in her infantile emotions, cornered by her own actions, the societal demands and the power structures surrounding women.
Interestingly, it is perhaps the dissolute Loevborg (Colin Tierney) who is hardest to appreciate: it is a thankless role in some respects, someone who has behaved appallingly, has managed to adopt and convince polite society of his worth for re-entry in their ranks (both academic and social), but who easily slips back into his disreputable ways (if he ever really left them). The inability to reconcile the intellectual mind with his own passions is his undoing and in that respect, Tierney convinces.
I'd be interested to read other translations: there certainly seemed lines that jarred slightly, but the direction and performances more than compensated. Very worthwhile and no doubt coming to a London stage this year...
Oh, and in case you were wondering where the post title came from, well of course there's this cracking song by the awesome Broken Records. "Come on Hedda, you know you've made your bed..."
Jamie and Rory - intimate version
Album version - with footage from touring