Hedda Gabler

Sheringham Little Theatre

When Ibsen's play was first performed in the 1890s, audiences were horrified by the character of Hedda Gabler.

One critic called her “a monster who has no counterpart in the real world”.

It is a tribute to the fine acting of

Elizabeth Scott as Hedda in this production by the Painted Horse Theatre Company that she still has the power to perplex and to shock.

Ibsen was quite revolutionary in portraying women trapped by the rigid conventions of their social role, and both Hedda and Thea Elvsted forcefully portray the struggle to be free to live true to their inner selves.

Hating the cage she has built for herself, Hedda is constantly looking for a way of escape.

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When Eilert Loevborg comes back into her life, the consequences for her and all those around her are tumultuous.

It is a fascinating psychological jigsaw, involving passion, treachery, cruelty, jealousy and envy, set against a backdrop of stultifying bourgeois rules and expectations.

Some weak acting in parts diluted the overall power of the performance, and the incongruity of modern furniture and the music of Ewan McColl with period costumes seemed without clear purpose.

I welcome the company's presentation of this great play and applaud its plans to bring such classics to a wider audience, using local talent and holding workshops.

t Hedda Gabler continues until Saturday, April 24.