Antonia Thomas _ Christian Rubeck - photo by Andy Paradise

Review: Shooting Hedda Gabler

Review: Shooting Hedda Gabler

A bold riff on Ibsen’s classic


An American actor, and former child star, hotfoots out of the US to Norway in a bid to escape the scandal that engulfs her and the paparazzi (one of which had a close encounter with her Tesla) that follows her every move. She’s set to star as Hedda Gabler in a new movie by a renowned director and she may at last get taken seriously as an actor. But something is deeply disturbing about the set up – there’s no script, for one thing, and the director is obviously a creep in the vein of #metoo.

Nina Segal brings Henrik Ibsen’s 130-year-old story, directed by Jeff James, right up to date. Antonia Thomas (The Good Doctor) is excellent in the lead role. We see her already fragile state eroded still further. Her every move is being filmed and her paranoia spirals. Christian Rubeck plays Henrik, the tyrannical obsessive director, powerfully and we are drawn in. Just how far will he go? Well, you kind of know how far he will go and how this will all end.

The set is suitably eerie – it’s a film studio but there is something slightly off about it that is unsettling. And a constant hum throughout adds to the atmosphere.

It could be all very dark. But there are some laugh out loud lines which give it some levity, particularly courtesy of Matilda Bailes, as Thea, an actor but also the studio’s therapist and intimacy coordinator. And they are welcome.

The first half works better than the second. The stage covered in green fabric (the green screen) in the latter half looked like a tripping hazard and the body stockings were quite a strange touch.

But there’s some strong messages in there, backed by some great acting. Shooting Hedda Gabler is pacy, disturbing and a compelling tale of vulnerability and power.


Image: Andy Paradise

A Rose Original Production in association with The Norwegian Ibsen Company

Rose Theatre, until 21 October