Theatre review: Hedda Gabler, Stirling

Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler

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WHEN asked about the name of his 1891 play Hedda Gabler, Henrik Ibsen explained that the newly married Hedda should be regarded as “her father’s daughter, rather than her husband’s wife” – hence the titular use of her maiden, rather than married name.

Hedda Gabler - Macrobert, Stirling

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Watching Alice Bonifacio of Icarus Theatre Collective take on the eponymous role, it’s clear Hedda is her own woman. With fire in her eyes, and a look that feels seconds away from menace, Bonifacio does a fine job of carrying this most iconic of 19th century female characters. The boredom, desire for greater things, and resignation to a loveless marriage are all writ large in her body language, facial expressions and tone – but more importantly, she captures the sense that Hedda is somehow “other” from those around her.

Pre-interval, it’s a fairly level playing field performance-wise. David Martin limps across the stage, embodying the ineffectual academic husband who will never be the man Hedda needs him to be. When life starts to spiral out of control in acts three and four and more is demanded of the six performers, however Bonifacio stands out from the crowd. But even she feels hemmed in at times, by direction that mirrors the set design – aesthetically pleasing, but restrictive. The denouement carries little weight and it’s hard to feel much emotional involvement with any of them.

Seen on 27.02.14

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