Until Sat Apr 12
© Jack Ladenburg
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Posted: Wed Mar 19 2014
There’s a Secret Cinema-like vibe to fledgling theatre company Palimpsest’s immersive touring production of Henrik Ibsen’s much pored-over play. Before we’ve even arrived at Sutton House, an email invites us to flick through a slickly put-together digital journal, complete with a video skit that’s set before the events of ‘Hedda Gabler’. The titular nineteenth-century housewife even has a Twitter feed. Figure that one out.
At the door, a flustered servant crosses our name off a handwritten list and invites us to take a glass of sherry. Scattered iPhones play videos of a conversation between characters and, in the basement, a woman in black sobbing in front of a projection of the journal we saw earlier. If you can deal with all the anachronisms, it’s very smart stuff, adding an extra dimension to Ibsen’s tale of marital apathy and academic one-upmanship between people who wear waistcoats and bonnets.
At this stop on its multi-historic building tour, the show itself takes place within a first-floor common room, the seats around its edges occupied by an audience that’s suddenly very aware of our jeans and trainers. Katherine Tozer gives the standout turn as Hedda, delivering her lines with an icy matter-of-factness and keeping her reactions subtle – all that’s required amid the intimacy of a Grade II*-listed Tudor manor house. It’s perhaps not the best choice of play to go all immersive on, but there’s stacks of creativity and ambition here.