Hedda Gabler | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Hedda Gabler


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HEDDA GABLER, Circle Theatre. In this production of Ibsen's tragedy, which finds Lynn Ann Bernatowicz directing Jon Robin Baitz's recent adaptation, the acts have been framed with musical exposition that spells out Hedda's state of mind. Why the lack of trust? Ibsen gives ample clues to Hedda's mad motives and fatal weakness. If the actress playing her can't deliver, sung Cliffs Notes won't help. Despite DeAnna N.J. Brooks's gorgeous alto, the music is superfluous frosting on a perfectly good cake. As Hedda, Marguerite Hammersley needs no assistance. The blue eyes glowering contempt at her jellyfish husband and the painted red grin slowly spreading as she prepares to destroy an ex-lover and his devoted young muse tell all.

By comparison, some of the actors seem as pale as the gauzy white sitting room and white costumes Hedda stands out so starkly against. Eric Fraisher Hayes, as the sweet lump of a husband, fumbles with vocal affectations and mawkish expressions that indicate he is still seeking his inner Tesman. Robin Margolis as Thea needs to explore levels other than wide-eyed distress. Scotty Rowe and David Krajecki as opportunistic Judge Brack and tortured genius Eilert Lovborg (the Sven that got away) prove sturdier foils.

--Kim Wilson

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