Reviews are coming in for Shooting Hedda Gabler at the Rose Theatre in Kingston starring Antonia Thomas.
The cast also includes Christian Rubeck (Succession, HBO) as Henrik, Avi Nash (Barry, Netflix) as Ejlert, joined by Anna Andresen (Emilia, Vaudeville) as Berta, Matilda Bailes (Mr Bates vs the Post Office, ITV) as Thea, and Joshua James (The Vortex, Chichester Festival Theatre) as Jørgen.
Antonia Thomas is best known for her role on ABC drama The Good Doctor, and other roles include Channel 4 crime drama Suspect, Steve McQueen’s BAFTA nominated Amazon/BBC series Small Axe, and Netflix series Lovesick.
Shooting Hedda Gabler is a new play by Nina Segal after Henrik Ibsen and is directed by Jeff James. The piece is a Rose Original Production in association with The Norwegian Ibsen Company.
Shooting Hedda Gabler unfolds on a movie set in Norway where filming is underway for a film adaptation of Hedda Gabler. After being offered the title role, an American actress seizes her opportunity to escape Hollywood – and gain some artistic credibility. What awaits her in Norway is a film set where reality and fiction are blurred by Henrik, the brilliant and demanding director. With every moment being filmed, she is gripped by paranoia. As the atmosphere on set becomes increasingly claustrophobic, Henrik becomes fixated on how to end the movie with a bang.
The wider creative team includes Set Design by Rosanna Vize, Costume Design by Milla Clarke, Lighting Design by Hansjörg Schmidt, Sound Design and Compsition by Kieran Lucas, Intimacy and Movement Director Ingrid Mackinnon, Casting Director Sam Jones, Assistant Director Amy Crighton.
Shooting Hedda Gabler is playing at the Rose Theatre Kingston until 21 October 2023.
Shooting Hedda Gabler reviews
"Ibsen update is a brilliantly unnerving study of coercive control"
"A demanding director drives his cast into discomforting areas in this clever play critiquing the patriarchal power structures of the movie business"
"The clench of a gun feels genuinely dangerous in Nina Segal’s sharp, twisting story of coercive control and the slippery business of pretending for a living – a co-production between the Rose theatre and the Norwegian Ibsen Company. Knowledge of Ibsen’s original may add extra layers to this clever play but it isn’t required in the slightest to enjoy the aching tension and delicious absurdity of Jeff James’s immensely confident production."
"Rarely off stage, the actors lurk around the edges, waiting to submit to Henrik’s invasive demands. The entire cast pulse with nervous, violent energy."
"...Shooting Hedda Gabler is a piercing, stylish reinvention of Ibsen’s classic. Watching it feels like licking a live wire."
"Ibsen as a needle-sharp, savagely funny MeToo nightmare"
"Playwright Nina Segal deftly skewers the coercive nature of male artistic genius while wittily sending up the conversations surrounding it"
"Segal handles her concept with impressive skill... where Ibsen’s Hedda could find no escape from the intolerable claustrophobia of her life, so Segal’s play suggests a parallel reality in which modern women struggle against a media culture that loves nothing more than to see them implode."
"Yet this is a needle-sharp, savagely funny show, deftly skewering the coercive nature of male artistic genius while wittily sending up many of the conversations surrounding this sort of thing – as the onset intimacy co-ordinator and therapist"
"Antonia Thomas is terrific in this stylish spin on an Ibsen classic"
"It goes way over the top at the end, but until then the production is absolutely gripping"
"Leafy Kingston isn’t where I expected to find a stylish, provocatively intelligent update of Henrik Ibsen’s study of thwarted womanhood. But that’s what writer Nina Segal and director Jeff James serve up here, along with an analysis of celebrity culture, power dynamics and even the nature of reality. It’s beautifully acted by a tight, six-strong cast led by Antonia Thomas, star of Misfits and The Good Doctor. Unfortunately, it all goes way over the top at the end but until then it’s absolutely gripping."
"The show’s ruminations on artifice, reality and control are subtly done until the last 15 minutes, when the plot spins off into repetition and absurdity. Shame: but I still left with my brain buzzing."
"Bold reframing of Ibsen’s play"
"Radical reworking of Ibsen’s drama confronts pertinent contemporary themes of power, submission and the exploitation of women"
"Boldly reframing Henrik Ibsen’s drama of passion, jealousy and festering malice, Nina Segal’s darkly insightful play-within-a-play offers an incisive deconstruction of the classic drama. Segal’s clever piece illuminates Ibsen’s text, faithfully recreating the plot’s main beats while exploring its themes through a timely new story that is every bit as complex and compelling as the original."
"Antonia Thomas, star of ABC drama The Good Doctor, gives a ferocious performance as a washed-up American actor who finds herself at the centre of a whirlpool of clashing personalities and obsessive behaviours."
"There’s a restless, relentless intensity to the staging – performers pace frantically, lounge around the set or watch from the sidelines, ensuring that Hedda never finds a moment alone – which only serves to make her feel more profoundly isolated. "
"This imaginative transposition of ‘Hedda Gabler’ to a modern film set is pacy and full of ideas"
"The early stages have a lot of sardonic fun with the idea of ‘genius’ European directors - Rubeck’s Henrik is manipulative and cult leader-like, with the show’s Norwegian cast and crew under his spell and hostile towards ‘Hedda’. But there’s a jocularity to both text and production that stops ‘Shooting Hedda Gabler’ ever getting as intense as it might."
"An energetic, colourful take on a classic and if its bolder ideas don’t feel like they’ve quite paid off, better a swing and a miss than no swing at all."
"Norwegian mind games"
"Nina Segal's spirited reimagining of Henrik Ibsen's classic"
"There is much to enjoy in Jeff James's efficient production, not least the smart script and the comedy provided by Matilda Bailes' Thea, the earnest on-set therapist and intimacy co-ordinator, and the no-nonsense approach of assistant director Berta (Anna Andresen)."
"But the argument that actors are just easily replaceable commodities is rather fussily made - and Henrik's mind games are so obvious that one can't entirely believe that everyone would be playing along."