Love a Good Play
Published in

Love a Good Play

Hedda Gabler

Lyttleton Theatre, January 26, 2017

Ruth Wilson and Rafe Spall

24 hours after watching this, I am still processing it.

Hedda is not a likeable woman but she’s one that all women (and possibly men) recognise a small part of themselves in. The difference between me and Hedda, she’s more reckless, more confused, more angry and more desperate (and possibly more free and more brave).

The plot — Hedda is a newlywed and is already incredibly dissatisfied with her life. She’s settled. Her husband is an OK academic but not a brilliant one. They have no money as they’ve over-extended themselves on the mortgage. She’s bored and she longs for a purpose and a way to dominate and control others and to be free.

“i want for once in my life to have power to mould a human destiny.” she tells us.

She’s a mess and sadly her attempt to control a former lover ends disasterously for him and disgustedly for her. Her Dionysian vision of his immediate future is dashed by a tawdry reality.

Another lover that she toys with gains control over her. And the powerlessness is too much for her.

Once again Ivo Van Hove strips back the play to the bare essentials — see The View from the Bridge. The staging is bleak and cold and inspite of the size of the space feels claustrophobic. (Having had chicken pox and been forced to stay home in quarantine with no-one for company, I can attest that cabin fever happens very quickly, in less than a week. Horrible feeling.)

The acting is SUPERB. Ruth Wilson is gloriously mesmeric (girl crush)and Rafe Spall seems to relish in his role, menancing and spider-like as he catches Hedda in his web. It made me shudder. We’ve all met a man like that… eugh.

My only gripe, for which it loses a whole point, it felt a tad too long.

Oh and celeb spot in the audience — Dominic West. Good spot bridgetbythebridge.

4/5 More Ruth Wilson on the London stage please. Lots more.

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