(seen at the afternoon performance on 7th January 2017). Director Ivo van
Hove always produces the unexpected, and this is no exception. An enclosed,
unfinished space in which the pace never varies. Claustrophobic, but the
brilliance is in the constant physical opening and closing of distance between
actors and the unexpected exploitations of those spaces as emotions require.
The troupe prove well up to the task.
Ruth Wilson's Hedda has limitless
psychotic depth, yet manages to maintain an air of sympathy as one more sinned
against than sinning - despite a constant ability to dispense cruelty as
casually as breathing. With the very remarkable Sinead Matthews as sometime
foil, an air running from simple mistrust to pure evil hangs around like Eva
Magyar (Berte) a maid who observes all, literally, in this setting. Kate Duchene
(Juliana) makes the most of her small role as aunt and hat owner.
For the men, Rafe Spall is on form as blackmailing judge Brack, Kyle Soller (Tesman) a pretty
revolting excuse for a man, yet maybe not quite deserving of Hedda his new wife
and Chukwudi Iwuji (Lovborg) makes a tragic writer.
The Marber script is airy, perhaps a little less tight towards the end, where
the pivotal manuscript scenes feel slightly rushed after a strong build-up and
the air of tragedy doesn't feel quite as inevitable as it might. That said, it
serves the pace, with no change in rhythm and only proximity to build the drama.
A brave and fascinating version, and a unique opportunity to catch a very
different approach. Worth seeing.
Photo credit: Jan Versweyveld. Used by kind permission.
Ugly Lies the Bone:
Angels In America, Parts 1 and 2: Not available.