Attempts to challenge audience perceptions and explore Ibsen’s text fall flat as production misses mark.

Upstairs Theatre, Belvoir, Sydney

July 2, 2014

The honeymoon is over, and Hedda Gabler has just returned home with her new husband, George Tesman. As he goes for a jog, she lies by the spa, momentarily luxuriating in silence.

Beyond her unmoving figure, a news channel flickers on the television. Every visible surface of the room is either littered with unopened boxes or garish floral bouquets. If it weren’t for the small signs of life, it would be easy to think that this was the aftermath of a death.

Henrik Ibsen’s 1890 play  Hedda Gabler initially received an overwhelmingly negative response, but it has since cemented itself in the theatrical canon. The title character has become known as one of the great dramatic roles, and has been portrayed by an impressive line of actresses from Glenda Jackson to Cate...