Review: Hedda Gabler, Norwich Theatre Royal

The cast of Hedda Gabler
The cast of Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler, Theatre Royal Norwich

It’s great to see a meaty drama at the Theatre Royal as we are served an abundance of musicals – and you don’t get much better than the National Theatre.

They arrive with their touring production of Ibsen’s classic story of bored housewife Hedda and the somewhat hedonistic ways she finds to amuse herself.

We were expecting Lizzy Watts in the lead role but saw understudy Cate Cammack step up – and very impressive she was, too, dominating the stage as the rather unlikeable former wild child who married the wrong chap – the eager-to- please academic Tesman, again beautifully played by Abhin Galeya.

As she meddles in the lives and loves of various friends, you know that Hedda is doomed, but it is her own internal struggle that gets us puzzling. Nobody is completely good or completely evil and the skill of Ibsen is that you have to decide how you react to her actions.

The play was revolutionary when first performed in the late 19th century as it showed women desperate for their own identity in a man’s world. Given the current revelations about some men in the worlds of Hollywood and beyond, the productions offer us yet more to ponder.

The show continues until Saturday.

Sarah Hardy