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Hedda Gabler

RoughCast Theatre at the Fisher Theatre, Bungay

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 27 November 2006

Hedda Gabler

Henrik Ibsen is a little out of fashion these days, what with the heavy Victorian morals and modern view, it is almost melodrama. Yet with the additional secrets, lies, scandals and hypocrisy, time is surely ripe for a fresh appraisal.

RoughCast do just that with a sharp, well-costumed and plausible presentation.

Now six years old, they formed to tour challenging plays in rural areas – bringing it to the newly-restored and magnificent little Fisher Theatre was an added bonus.

David Green’s brisk direction of a strong cast brings the wordy (and, for its era, revolutionary) story to life in a way that strikes a chord with people of all ages today.

Pistol crackshop Hedda Gabler is newly married, bored, restless, caged. Sarah Farrah’s interpretation is a tour-de-force, from manipulative comedy one moment to subtle menace the next – her pent up anger and impatience reinforced by a uniquely expressive face. We can’t help but sympathise, while her insufferable husband (Grant Filshill) is both superb foil and irritant.

The remaining cast – the ne’er do well (Mark Burridge), the philandering old judge (Paul Baker), the Oscar Wilde-like aunt (Yves Green), the naive-yet-dangerous female friend (Sarah Gray) and the maid (Pat Harris) support through near-faultless characterisations to make a satisfying whole and a stimulating evening.

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