Hedda Gabler

Play by Henrik Ibsen. Arriving home after an extended honeymoon Hedda Gabler struggles with an existence that is, for her, devoid of excitement and enchantment. Filled with a passion for life that cannot be confined by her marriage of 'perfect home', Hedda strives to find a way to fulfil her desires by manipulating those around her...

Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler was first presented in London's West End in 1891 starring Elizabeth Robins in the title role for a short run. Although it was revived a number of times over the next 50 years, these where mostly only for very short runs. Thus it was arguably not until the 1954, when Peggy Ashcroft played the title role, that the play gained popularity with London audiences - since when it has had regular revivals in London starring such actresses as Maggie Smith, Glenda Jackson, Lindsay Duncan, Juliet Stevenson and Fiona Shaw.

1891: Elizabeth Robins Original West End Production at the Vaudeville Theatre

1893: Elizabeth Robins at the Opera Comique

1903: Eleonora Duse at the Adelphi Theatre

1905: Eleonora Duse at the Waldorf Theatre

1907: Mrs Patrick Campbell at the Court Theatre

1909: Princess Bariatinsky at the His Majesty's Theatre

1911: Princess Bariatinsky at the Kingsway Theatre

1922: Mrs Patrick Campbell at the Everyman Theatre and Kingsway Theatre

1931: Jean Forbes-Robertson at the Arts Theatre and Fortune Theatre

1936: Jean Forbes-Robertson at the Criterion Theatre

1943: Sonia Dresdel at the Mercury Theatre and Westminster Theatre

1951: Jean Forbes-Robertson at the Arts Theatre

1954: Peggy Ashcroft at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and Westminster Theatre

1964: Joan Greenwood at the Arts Theatre and St Martins Theatre

1968: Gertrud Fridh at the Aldwych Theatre

1970: Maggie Smith at the Cambridge Theatre and Old Vic Theatre

1972: Jill Bennett at the Royal Court Theatre

1975: Glenda Jackson at the RSC Aldwych Theatre

1977: Janet Suzman at the Duke of York's Theatre

1982: Susannah York at the Cambridge Theatre

1984: Deborah Findlay at the Almeida Theatre

1988: Lindsay Duncan at the Hampstead Theatre

1989: Juliet Stevenson at the National Theatre

1991: Fiona Shaw at the Playhouse Theatre

1996: Alexandra Gilbreath at the Donmar Warehouse

2005: Eve Best at the Almeida Theatre and Duke of York's Theatre

2012: Sheridan Smith at the Old Vic Theatre

2016: Ruth Wilson at the National Theatre

Ibsen's other plays recently seen in London's West End include A Doll's House, The Master Builder and Ghosts.

Original London West End Production (Vaudeville Theatre) - 1891

Opened 20 April 1891, Closed 30 May 1891 at the Vaudeville Theatre

The cast featured Elizabeth Robins as 'Hedda Gabler', W Scott Buist as 'George Tesman', Henrietta Cowen as 'Juliana Tesman', Marion Lea as 'Thea Elvsted', Charles Sugden as 'Judge Brack' and Arthur Elwood as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Elizabeth Robins and Marion Lea. Translated into English by Edmund Gosse and William Archer.

1st West End Revival (Opera Comique) - 1893

Opened 29 May 1893, Closed 6 June 1893 (in repertory) at the Opera Comique (now demolished)

The cast featured Elizabeth Robins as 'Hedda Gabler', W Scott Buist as 'George Tesman', Henrietta Cowen as 'Juliana Tesman', Marie Linden as 'Thea Elvsted', Charles Sugden as 'Judge Brack' and Lewis Waller as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Elizabeth Robins and Marion Lea. Translated into English by Edmund Gosse and William Archer.

Presented as part of an Elizabeth Robins Henrik Ibsen Season of three plays, each given three performances. The other plays where The Master Builder (with Elizabeth Robins as 'Hilda Wangel') and Rosmersholm (with Elizabeth Robins as 'Rebecca West'). The Opera Comique was located in the Aldwych, Covent Garden.

2nd West End Revival (Adelphi Theatre) - 1903

Opened 7 October 1903, Closed 29 October 1903 (in repertory) at the Adelphi Theatre

The cast featured Eleonora Duse as 'Hedda Gabler', Carlo Rosaspina as 'Giorgio (George) Tesman', Annunziata Mazzini as 'Giulia (Juliana) Tesman', Guglielmina Galliani as 'Thea Elvsted', Antonio Galliani as 'Judge Bark (Brack)' and Ciro Galvani as 'Erberto (Eilert) Lovborg'.

Performed in Italian and presented as part of a month-long Eleonora Duse Italian Season.

3rd West End Revival (Waldorf Theatre) - 1905

29 May and 7 June 1905 at the Waldorf Theatre (now Novello Theatre)

The cast featured Eleonora Duse as 'Hedda Gabler', Carlo Rosaspina as 'Giorgio (George) Tesman', Annunziata Mazzini as 'Giulia (Juliana) Tesman', Maty Wilson as 'Thea Elvsted', Antonio Galliani as 'Judge Bark (Brack)' and Ciro Galvani as 'Erberto (Eilert) Lovborg'.

Two performances performed in Italian and presented as part of a month-long Eleonora Duse Italian Season.

London Revival (Court Theatre) - 1907

Opened 5 March 1907. Closed 26 March 1907 (matinees only) at the Court Theatre (now Royal Court Theatre)

The cast featured Mrs Patrick Campbell as 'Hedda Gabler', Trevor Lowe as 'George Tesman', Adela Measor as 'Juliana Tesman', Evelyn Weeden as 'Thea Elvsted', James Hearn as 'Judge Brack' and Laurence Irving as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Presented as 'Afternoon Theatre' for Tuesday and Friday matinee performances with George Bernard Shaw's You Never Can Tell playing as per normal during the evening.

4th West End Revival (His Majesty's Theatre) - 1909

7 December 1909 at His Majesty's Theatre (now Her Majesty's Theatre)

The cast featured Lydia Yavorska (Princess Bariatinsky) as 'Hedda Gabler', Michael Kelch as 'George Tesman', Varvara Iliinskaia as 'Juliana Tesman', Vera Verter as 'Thea Elvsted', Sergius Reutof as 'Judge Brack' and Fred Radolin as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Performed in Russian for one matinee performance only as part of the the Princess Bariatinsky Theatre Company from St Petersburg season of matinee performances with Rene Fauchois's play Beethoven, adapted by Louis N Parker, playing as per normal during the evening.

5th West End Revival (Kingsway Theatre) - 1911

Opened 27 May 1911, Closed 17 June 1911 at the Kingsway Theatre (now demolished)

The cast featured Lydia Yavorska (Princess Bariatinsky) as 'Hedda Gabler', F Kinsey Peile as 'George Tesman', Florence Haydon as 'Juliana Tesman', Helen Haye as 'Thea Elvsted', Franklin Dyall as 'Judge Brack' and Lewis Willoughby as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Translated into English by Edmund Gosse and William Archer. Presented in a straight run, as part of The Lydia Yavorska (Princess Bariatinsky) Season.

The Kingsway Theatre was a 560-seater theatre located at 8 Greet Queen Street, Covent Garden, now demolished to make way for an office block.

6th London Revival (Everyman Theatre / Kingsway Theatre) - 1922

Opened 22 May 1922, Closed 3 June 1922 at the Everyman Theatre, Hampstead (now Everyman Cinema)
Transferred 5 June 1922, Closed 17 June 1922 at the Kingsway Theatre (now demolished)

The cast featured Mrs Patrick Campbell as 'Hedda Gabler', Ivor Barnard as 'George Tesman', Maud Jolliffe as 'Juliana Tesman', Dorothy Holmes-Gore as 'Thea Elvsted', Athole Stewart as 'Judge Brack' and Charles Quartermaine as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Translated into English by Edmund Gosse and William Archer.

The Kingsway Theatre was a 560-seater theatre located at 8 Greet Queen Street, Covent Garden, now demolished to make way for an office block.

7th West End Revival (Arts Theatre / Fortune Theatre) - 1931

Opened 17 March 1931, Closed 22 March 1931 at the Arts Theatre
Transferred 23 March 1931, Closed 11 April 1931 at the Fortune Theatre

The cast featured Jean Forbes-Robertson as 'Hedda Gabler', Walter Piers as 'Jorgen (George) Tesman', Maud Buchanan as 'Juliana Tesman', June English/Helene Pickard as 'Thea Elvsted', William Earle Grey as 'Judge Brack' and Walter Hudd as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Michael Orme. Translated into English by Edmund Gosse and William Archer.

Presented by Nancy Price's 'The People's Theatre'.

8th West End Revival (Criterion Theatre) - 1936

Opened 9 March 1936, Closed 4 April 1936 (in repertory) at the Criterion Theatre

The cast featured Jean Forbes-Robertson as 'Hedda Gabler', Walter Piers as 'George Tesman', Esme Church as 'Juliana Tesman', Elizabeth Hardy as 'Thea Elvsted', D A Clarke-Smith as 'Judge Brack' and John Laurie as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Leon M. Lion.

Presented in repertory by the Arts Theatre Company of Cambridge as part of a Four Play Ibsen Cycle that included Rosmersholm, The Master Builder and A Doll's House.

London Revival (Mercury Theatre / Westminster Theatre) - 1943

Opened 30 September 1942, Closed 7 November 1942 at the Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill Gate (now disused)
Opened 17 January 1943, Closed 30 January 1943 at the Mercury Theatre, Notting Hill Gate (now disused)
Opened 16 March 1943, Closed 8 May 1943 at the Westminster Theatre (now rebuilt as The Other Palace)

The West End cast at the Westminster Theatre featured Sonia Dresdel as 'Hedda Gabler', Walter Hudd as 'Jorgen (George) Tesman', Irene Arnold as 'Juliana Tesman', Helen Burns as 'Thea Elvsted', Elwyn Brook-Jones as 'Judge Brack' and Julian Randall as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

The 150-seater Mercury Theatre was located in 2a Ladbroke Road, Notting Hill Gate, and is now a private house.

London Revival (Arts Theatre) - 1951

Opened 17 January 1951, Closed 11 February 1951 at the Arts Theatre

The cast featured Jean Forbes-Robertson as 'Hedda Gabler', Eric Berry as 'George Tesman', Lally Bowers as 'Juliana Tesman', Sonia Williams as 'Thea Elvsted', Campbell Singer as 'Judge Brack' and Robert Rietty as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Roy Rich. Translated into English by Edmund Gosse and William Archer.

London Revival (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre / Westminster Theatre - 1954

Opened 8 September 1954, Closed 27 November 1954 at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith
Opened 29 November 1954, Closed 22 January 1955 at the Westminster Theatre

The cast at the Westminster Theatre featured Peggy Ashcroft as 'Hedda Gabler', George Devine as 'George Tesman', Susan Richmond as 'Juliana Tesman', Rachel Kempson as 'Thea Elvsted', Noel Willman as 'Judge Brack' and Michael Warre as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Peter Ashmore with designs by Motley. Translated into English by Max Faber.

This touring production orignated at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin in July 1954. Following the West End run the production continued to tour, including notably to Oslo, Norway, where it was performed in English to much acclaim. After seeing it Haakon VII of Norway awarded Peggy Ashcroft the 'King's Gold Medal'.

9th West End Revival (Arts Theatre / St Martins Theatre) - 1964

Opened 12 February 1964, Closed 29 February 1964 at the Arts Theatre
Transferred 2 March 1964, Closed 9 May 1964 at the St Matins Theatre

The cast featured Joan Greenwood as 'Hedda Gabler', George Cole as 'George Tesman', Jean Anderson as 'Juliana Tesman', Jane Wenham as 'Thea Elvsted', Andre Morell as 'Judge Brack' and Maurice Good as 'Eilert Lovborg'. Directed by Minos Volanakis with designs by Timothy O'Brien. Translated into English by Max Faber.

10th West End Revival (Aldwych Theatre) - 1968

Opened 3 June 1968, Closed 8 June 1968 at the Aldwych Theatre

The cast featured Gertrud Fridh as 'Hedda Gabler', Ingvar Kjellson as 'George Tesman', Renne Bjorling as 'Juliana Tesman', Jane Friedmann as 'Thea Elvsted', Olof Widgren as 'Judge Brack' and Georg Arlin as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Ingmar Bergman with designs by Mago.

Presented as a one-week straight run as part of the Annual World Theatre Season by the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Stockholm, and performed in Swedish.

11th West End Revival (NT Cambridge Theatre / Old Vic Theatre) - 1970

Previewed 23 June 1970, Opened 29 June 1970, Closed 22 October 1970 (in repertory) at the Cambridge Theatre
Transferred 27 October 1970, Closed 19 December 1970 (in repertory) at Old Vic Theatre

The cast featured Maggie Smith as 'Hedda Gabler', Jeremy Brett as 'George Tesman', Jeanne Watts as 'Juliana Tesman', Sheila Reid as 'Thea Elvsted', John Moffatt as 'Judge Brack' and Robert Stephens as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Ingmar Bergman with designs by Mago. Translated into English by Michael Meyer. Presented by the National Theatre.

London Revival (Royal Court Theatre) - 1972

Previewed 22 June 1972, Opened 28 June 1972, Closed 29 July 1972 at the Royal Court Theatre

The cast featured Jill Bennett as 'Hedda Gabler', Ronald Hines as 'George Tesman', Mary Merrall as 'Juliana Tesman', Barbara Ferris as 'Thea Elvsted', Denholm Elliott as 'Judge Brack' and Brian Cox as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Anthony Page with sets by Alan Tagg, costumes by Deirdre Clancy and lighting by Andy Phillips. Translated into English by John Osborne.

12th West End Revival (RSC Aldwych Theatre) - 1975

Previewed 15 July 1975, Opened 17 July 1975, Closed 9 August 1975 at the Aldwych Theatre

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company. The cast featured Glenda Jackson as 'Hedda Gabler', Peter Eyre as 'George Tesman', Constance Chapman as 'Juliana Tesman', Jennie Linden as 'Thea Elvsted' and Timothy West as 'Judge Brack'. Patrick Stewart as 'Eilert Lovborg'. The cast also included Pam St Clement in the role of 'Bertha'.

Directed by Trevor Nunn with sets by John Napier and costumes by Adriene Neofitou and John Napier. Adapted by Trevor Nunn from a translation by Kirsten Stenberg Williams.

13th West End Revival (Duke of York's Theatre) - 1977

Previewed 14 June 1977, Opened 15 June 1977, Closed 3 September 1977 at the Duke of York's Theatre

The cast featured Janet Suzman as 'Hedda Gabler', John Shrapnel as 'Jorgen (George) Tesman', Gwen Nelson as 'Juliana Tesman', Rosemary McHale as 'Thea Elvsted', Ian Bennen as 'Judge Brack' and Jonathan Kent as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Keith Hack with designs by Maria Bjornson and lighting by Vic Lockwood. Adapted by David Essinger from a translation by Vicky Carlstrand.

14th West End Revival (Cambridge Theatre) - 1982

Previewed 17 May 1982, Opened 20 May 1982, Closed 17 July 1982 at the Cambridge Theatre

The cast featured Susannah York as 'Hedda Gabler', Ralph Bates as 'George Tesman', Irene Handl as 'Juliana Tesman', Paula Wilcox as 'Thea Elvsted', Tom Baker as 'Judge Brack' and Tom Bell as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Donald McWhinnie with designs by Voytek (Wojciech Roman Pawel Jerzy Szendzikowski) and lighting by Mark Pritchard. Translated into English by Una Ellis-Fermor.

London Revival (Almeida Theatre) - 1984

Previewed 21 April 1984, Opened 24 April 1984, Closed 19 May 1984 at the Almeida Theatre

The cast featured Deborah Findlay as 'Hedda Gabler', Paul Jesson as 'George Tesman', Jan Bashford as 'Juliana Tesman', Helen Cooper as 'Thea Elvsted', Donald Sumpter as 'Judge Brack' and Mike Bradwell as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Tim Albery with designs by Anthony McDonald and Tom Cairns and lighting by Matthew Richardson. Translated into English by by Christopher Hampton.

London Revival (Hampstead Theatre) - 1988

Previewed 7 October 1988, Opened 14 October 1988, Closed 12 November 1988 at the Hampstead Theatre

The cast featured Lindsay Duncan as 'Hedda Gabler', Jonathan Coy as 'George Tesman', Rhoda Lewis as 'Juliana Tesman', Mari Rowland-Hughes as 'Thea Elvsted', Clive Francis as 'Judge Brack' and Dermot Crowley as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by John Dove with sets by Kenny Miller, costumes by Annie Curtis Jones and lighting by Gerry Jenkinson. Adapted by Trevor Nunn from a translation by Kirsten Stenberg Williams.

London Revival (National Theatre) - 1989

Previewed 27 January 1989, Opened 2 February 1989, Closed 7 October 1989 (in repertory) NT Olivier Theatre

The cast featured Juliet Stevenson as 'Hedda Gabler', Paul Shelley as 'George Tesman', Bridget Turner as 'Juliana Tesman', Suzanne Burden as 'Thea Elvsted', Norman Rodway as 'Judge Brack' and Paul Jesson as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Howard Davies with designs by Bob Crowley, lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Dominic Muldowney and sound by Freya Edwards. Translated into English by Christopher Hampton.

15th West End Revival (Playhouse Theatre) - 1991

Previewed 28 August 1991, Opened 3 September 1991, Closed 5 October 1991 at the Playhouse Theatre

The cast featured Fiona Shaw as 'Hedda Gabler', Garrett Keogh as 'Jorgen (George) Tesman', Doreen Hepburn as 'Juliana Tesman', Ingrid Craigie as 'Thea Elvsted', Hugh Ross as 'Judge Brack' and Robert O'Mahoney as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Deborah Warner with designs by Hildergard Bechtler, lighting by Jean Kalman and sound by Dave Nolan. The Peter Hall Company presents The Abbey Theatre Dublin Production. Translated into English by Una Ellis-Fermor.

London Revival (Donmar Warehouse) - 1996

Previewed 30 July 1996, Opened 1 August 1996, Closed 31 August 1996 at the Donmar Warehouse

The cast featured Alexandra Gilbreath as 'Hedda Gabler', Crispin Letts as 'George Tesman', Ann Firbank as 'Juliana Tesman', Carol Stark as 'Thea Elvsted', David Killick as 'Judge Brack' and Jonathan Phillip as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Stephen Unwin with designs by Pamela Howard and lighting by Ben Ormerod. Adapted by Kenneth McLeish.

16th West End Revival (Almeida Theatre / Duke of York's Theatre) - 2005

Previewed 10 March 2005, Opened 16 March 2005, Closed 30 April 2005 at the Almeida Theatre
Previewed 19 May 2005, Opened 27 May 2005, Closed 6 August 2005 at the Duke of York's Theatre

The cast featured Eve Best as 'Hedda Gabler', Benedict Cumberbatch as 'George Tesman', Gillian Raine as 'Juliana Tesman', Lisa Dillon as 'Thea Elvsted', Iain Glen as 'Judge Brack' and Jamie Sives as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Richard Eyre with designs by Rob Howell, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by John Leonard. Adapted by Richard Eyre from a literal translation by Karin and Ann Bamborough.

"This is a crisp, cool, clear and brisk production which gives us a tour of Hedda's ever-shrinking horizons without really attempting to define how a woman so bored of life, especially hers, can remain so mesmeric to so many different men. Eve Best, the actress around whom this production is built, manages to convey Hedda's haughty, chilly disdain for those who have been daft enough to get caught up with her. But what we get here is less even than the 10 per cent of the iceberg that is usually supposed to show. This Hedda is all ice, and very largely submerged in her own despair, so that her eventual suicide comes as little surprise. Benedict Cumberbatch is the weakling, impotent husband, Iain Glen the suave, blackmailing Judge Brack and Jamie Sives is the drunken poet Eilert Lovborg who manages to make a mess even of his own death. All of them give good enough reason why this is in one sense an early play about male chauvinism and the rights of women in a society lethally loaded against them. But there is much more to Hedda than this, and in giving us the play as a psychological chamber thriller, Eyre has wonderfully cut through the Victorian dust to portray today and tomorrow as well as yesterday." The Daily Express

"Hedda is Hamlet for actresses, an opportunity for great artists to roll out their choicest mannerisms and overact like crazy. This is precisely what Eve Best doesn't do, and what makes her a most thrilling Hedda. For Best, less is more. She is young and authentically posh, and knows exactly how a Norwegian general's daughter would go about wrong-footing her husband's dowdy relations. Her teasing is sexy, her manners playful and polished. You can understand why the husband, Tesman, played with heartbreaking naivety by Benedict Cumberbatch, is so besotted by a woman who despises him. Only gradually does the truth dawn... There is not a weak link in the cast, and Richard Eyre's production, based on his own sharpening of the text, is an exercise in virtuoso stagecraft. The final suicide is a real Tarantino moment, and alone worth the price of a ticket." The Sunday Telegraph

"In Richard Eyre's introduction to his dynamic new version, written from a literal translation, he talks of Best being 'born to play Hedda', and her performance certainly maps that theatrical genome with startling clarity... While Ibsen's play is often seen as sympathetic to the plight of women trapped by marriage and patriarchy, Best's performance is proof that Hedda is hardly a feminist martyr. Empower her and she might find more interesting work than persuading people to top themselves, but, chances are, her cruel nature would never change... Rob Howell's set is a forest of dark wood furniture, the sun streaming in through the shutters only emphasising the claustrophobic gloom. The men, too, are conveyed with oppressive force... Even so, Eyre's production stresses that this masculine world alone cannot explain Hedda's extreme desire for control, or her unearthly keen of 'I'm burning the baby' as she destroys Loevborg's manuscript, or her maenad urges... Clear, exhilarating, sexually charged, this production hits the same targets with equal precision, as wild and shocking as blood splashed on suburban wallpaper." The Sunday Times

Hedda Gabler in London at theDuke of York's Theatre previewed from 19 May 2005, opened on 27 May 2005 and closed on 6 August 2005.

17th West End Revival (Old Vic Theatre) - 2012

Previewed 5 September 2012, Opened 12 September 2012, Closed 10 November 2012 at the Old Vic Theatre

The cast feaured Sheridan Smith as 'Hedda Gabler', Adrian Scarborough as 'George Tesman', Anne Reid as 'Juliana Tesman', Fenella Woolgar as 'Thea Elvsted', Darrell D'Silva as 'Judge Brack' and Daniel Lapaine as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Anna Mackmin with designs by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Paul Englishby and sound by Simon Baker. Adapted by Brian Friel.

"It is for her portrayal of ordinariness and likeability that Sheridan Smith has shone on stage... There is nothing ordinary or likeable about Hedda Gabler, the original desperate housewife, in the Ibsen drama first staged in 1891. In giving Smith the challenging role of the general's daughter who is a crashing snob and consumed with boredom, director Anna Mackmin was obviously casting against type... So is Smith up to it? Not yet. Her voice is tight and locked on to one thin note, and she swallows the ends of her sentences: a gabbler more than a Gabler... Brian Friel's new version has lightened the mood of Ibsen's sombre play. Hedda's husband George has become too much of a buffoon in the process... Darrell D'Silva makes a revoltingly rakish judge and the marvellous Anne Reid is both cosy and frosty as dear old Aunt Ju-Ju. Only Smith is, as yet, too ordinary." The Mail on Sunday

"Anna Mackmin's visually stunning new production, starring Sheridan Smith as the discontented housewife with a thing about guns. For at least the first half-hour, this Ibsen is one of the funniest you'll see. The fabulous Adrian Scarborough is a delight as Hedda's husband, George Tesman, warm, affectionate, intelligent, ebullient and funny... From the first line, Smith's Hedda is both wholly convincing and intensely unlikeable... This version by Brian Friel is superb. He actually improves on Ibsen, fleshing out some of the minor characters, especially Thea. This only serves to highlight Hedda's real character by contrast... Lez Brotherston's gorgeous set of white painted wood and glass, with a magnificent floor-to-ceiling tiled stove, is complemented by Mark Henderson's richly evocative lighting." The Sunday Times

"It has been described as nothing less than 'the female Hamlet' and it's easy to see why actresses covet the role: Hedda can be pretty much anything, from an early feminist fighting to make her own destiny to a wicked sadist. Sheridan Smith presents this complicated leading lady as, alas, Miss Smith - all kooky smiles, lipstick and big hair - which is a crying shame as Brian Friel's adaptation of Ibsen' old potboiler is a spirited, intelligent and classy affair. The redeeming features of Anna Mackmin's production are its supporting cast and Lez Brotherson's impressive realisation of the home that Hedda shares with her husband." The Sunday Telegraph

Hedda Gabler in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 5 September 2012, opened on 12 September 2012 and closed on 10 November 2012.

London Revival (National Theatre) - 2016

Previewed 5 December 2016, Opened 12 December 2016, Closed 21 March 2017 (in repertory) at the NT Lyttelton Theatre

The cast featured Ruth Wilson as 'Hedda Gabler', Kyle Soller as 'George Tesman', Kate Ducheneas 'Juliana Tesman', Sinead Matthews as 'Thea Elvsted', Rafe Spall as 'Judge Brack', and Chukwudi Iwuji as 'Eilert Lovborg'.

Directed by Ivo van Hove with sets by Jan Versweyveld, costumes by An DíHuys, lighting by Jan Versweyveld and sound Tom Gibbons. Adapted by Patrick Marber,

When this production opened at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in December 2016, Neil Norman in the Daily Express highlighted how "Ruth Wilson makes a chilling Hedda. Bored, resentful and as cuddly as a porcupine, she is every inch the former wild child and bully who has married to bring structure to her life. But she married the wrong man," adding that "Patrick Marber's script reinvigorates Ibsen's fine play and is a model of clarity, laced with lethal nuance... If only Van Hove hadn't overplayed his hand at the end with the humiliation of Hedda by symbolic blood spattering and general manhandling. Given the articulacy of Marber's script and the terrific performances, it is entirely unnecessary." Ann Treneman in the Times wrote that "the star - the reason to go - is Ruth Wilson, who plays Hedda with a cool and sneery nonchalance that at times slips almost into a trance. She is not likeable but she is fascinating... It makes you shiver, this beautiful, brittle Ibsen ice sculpture. Be sure to wrap up warm so you don't catch a chill." Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times thought that "Ivo van Hove may overdo the Brack-is-to-blame perspective, but his stripped-down approach, with a baseline of near-screen naturalism until particular intensity is required, works beautifully at reinvigorating Ibsen." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph said that it was a "smartly conceived and surprisingly understated reading of an overfamiliar classic - lent a fresh translation by Patrick Marber... this is a bold, clear, finally harrowing account of the play... and if I wasn't a Wilsonite, I certainly am now - she is sensational... This is one of the performances and the productions of the year." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard noted how "Ruth Wilson brings a thrilling volatility to its title role... She can be ferociously dynamic, punching the air after a moment of extreme destructiveness. But often thereís a remarkable stillness in this performance, a chilling precision that confirms our sense that Hedda, while a victim of social convention, is a monstrously skilful manipulator." Quentin Letts for the Daily Mail commented that, "as a fashion spectacle it is all wildly self-absorbed and gives us the cliche of the modern drinks can being opened in a threatening manner by the baddie... For a properly moving account of one of the great European tragedies, however, you should look elsewhere." Michael Billington in the Guardian described how, "using a brisk, cobweb-free, new version by Patrick Marber, Ivo Van Hove... forces us to see Ibsenís masterpiece with fresh eyes and to recognise that, even in the age of instant divorce, there are still modern Heddas helplessly trapped in loveless bondage."

Hedda Gabler in London at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre previewed from 5 December 2016, opened on 12 December 2016 and closed on 21 March 2017 (in repertory).