Live theater explodes again on the Southwick stage

Wick director Gary Cook
Wick director Gary Cook

REVIEW, Hedda Gabler, The Barn Theater Southwick

After 18 months of darkness, the Barn Theater Southwick returns to the stage with a thrilling performance by Hedda Gabler.

Ibsen’s realistic and seminal work, long known as one of the iconic pieces of a female actress, has been refreshed by the scintillating adaptation by Patrick Marber.

By detaching the play from a specific moment and reducing the plot to its essentials, while retaining Ibsen’s intention, the play shines like new, while delivering one of the most difficult roles in theater. .

Are the players up to the task? Yes, do they do it in spades?

Taking the title role, Victoria Storm is a concentrate of frustration, sarcasm and, yes, humor. The rest of the cast shines just as brightly, with David Balfe’s menacing Judge Brack and the somewhat insightful academic of Phil Nair-Brown (Hedda’s new husband) standing out. Livvie Gilpin plays Hedda’s old “school friend” Mrs. Elvsted, a bright-eyed, gentle woman who shows Hedda how courage can be displayed. Harry Freeman stars as Lovborg’s rival academic – a recovering alcoholic who reverts to his dissolute ways as the plot unfolds. Exceptional support is provided by Justine Smith as Tesman’s aunt, Juliana, and Nettie Sheridan as surly maid, Berte.

As the room progresses, the mood darkens – but it is lit by flashes of wit and humor, taking it away from what could be a catastrophic room.

Director Gary Cook has been developing the play with the cast over the past year or so – hampered by the pandemic and twice delayed since opening, he’s finally here – with the production reflecting both the era in which we live and a possibility of escaping our caskets and a return to the theater.

Tickets cost £ 12 on or at The Door, Barn Theater, Southwick Community Center, Southwick BN42 4TE

REVIEW by Debbie Creissen

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