an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler by Terje Tveit and Kaja Bjørntvedt.
New Diorama Theatre 15-16 Triton Street NW1 3BF To 28 September 2013.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 2.30pm.
Runs 2hr 5min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7383 9034.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 28 September.
Recording reveals Hedda anew.
Their name suggests formal respectability but The Ibsen Stage Company is a wildcard of Ibsen productions. The playwright has the position in Norway that Shakespeare has in Britain – there are so many productions that audiences have reached a point where experiment, wisely done, brings freshness and new insights.
As does Terje Tveit, with a perception which give his unconventional Ibsen revivals the revelatory power director Stephen Daldry brought to J B Priestley’s An Inspector Calls. All the time the surface takes you away from what’s expected, the production draws you to the play’s heart.
Daldry’s Inspector has been around over twenty years; there are barely twenty performances of this Hedda. There’s a week to go, and go anyone should who is interested in Ibsen or reinterpreted classics. Many more flashy directors have had much bigger budgets and said far less.
Previous Tveit productions have involved vivid imagery and pace. The pace is still here but with one overall image, a radio-studio where a modern cast is recording Hedda Gabler. The concentration when they speak into microphones is contrasted by the hurry as cast and crew rush in and out as events parallel the night Hedda attempts to influence magnetic artist Eilert Løvborg (here Ebbie) and succeeds only in destroying his work.
Famously, Hedda becomes an irrelevance and disposes of herself as others control her or repair the damage she’s done. So does G, the scornfully furious actress playing her – whom Sarah Head gives a flame-haired intensity; her eyes pierce with suppressed hate as she speaks to fellow actor Debbie over their scripts.
Kaja Bjørntvedt’s score pulses and waves with quiet insistence beneath much of the action, which goes far beyond mere paralleling to re-ignite the passions easily lost in the respectability of a conventional revival.
And the modern techno-solution to the dead Ebbie’s lost work not only fits his experimental multi-media style entirely but provides direct evidence of how G manipulates others. It’s a final revelatory moments in a production which holds the attention of an audience seated in a circle round the central action for two rapid hours.
Miss Mitford: Tricia Deighton.
Jason: Tom Fava.
G/Hedda Gabler: Sarah Head.
Tesman/Jørgen: Matthew Hedben.
Debbie/Miss Thea: Roseanne Lynch.
Ebbie: Mark Moore.
Brack/The Judge: Matthew Rutherford.
Reorded voices: Cleo Felstead, Stephanie Jory.
Diredctor: Terje Tveit.
Designer/Costume Yana Valcheva.
Lighting: Christopher Nairne.
Music: Kaja Bjørntvedt.
Dramaturg: Roza Grigorova.
Assistant director: Ali Yalgin.