Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Review: Hedda Gabler - Sheridan Smith triumphant as Ibsen's heroine

Old Vic Theatre, London SE1

    Sheridan Smith
    Sheridan Smith

    It had long been on the cards that Sheridan Smith would complete the transition from frothy TV sitcom to the classical stage. On the way she delivered acclaimed performances, such as her Olivier-winning Elle Woods in the musical Legally Blonde and a cameo as a lonely wife in Flare Path. But in terms of drama, Hedda is in a different league and Smith is in superbly controlled form as Ibsen’s manipulative beauty.

    It was said of Glenda Jackson that she did not need to be beautiful to play beautiful woman; she could act beautiful. And Smith does something similar here. In Anna Mackmin’s gripping production she transmits an alluring aloofness that only the beautiful possess.

    But the less expected story is what Brian Friel’s translation has done to the play — it has improved it. Hedda’s doting academic husband George Tresman has been enlarged to an altogether more tragic character by giving him comic obsessions. Adrian Scarborough does not put a foot wrong in the role.
    Perhaps only Darrell D’Silva’s hugely enjoyable but rather off-beam performance needs recalibrating. As the sexual predator Judge Brack, D’Silva is charm itself. But it is hard to see how, for Hedda, a life with the stultifying Tresman is a fate worse than death while she has the entertaining Brack as a distraction. (www.oldvictheatre.com)

The Jewish Chronicle

Fast-talking musical maker, Maury Yeston

John Nathan

Friday, February 10, 2017

Fast-talking musical maker, Maury Yeston
The Jewish Chronicle

Reviews: King Lear

John Nathan

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Reviews: King Lear
Theatre

The comics' Talmudist

Elisa Bray

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The comics' Talmudist
The Jewish Chronicle

Review: After October

John Nathan

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review: After October
Theatre

Review: The Last Five Years

John Nathan

Friday, November 11, 2016

Review: The Last Five Years
Theatre

Review: The Dresser

John Nathan

Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: The Dresser
The Jewish Chronicle

School of Rock

John Nathan

Friday, November 25, 2016

School of Rock
The Jewish Chronicle

Review: Dead Funny

John Nathan

Friday, November 11, 2016

Review: Dead Funny
Theatre

Review: Ragtime

John Nathan

Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: Ragtime