It's been just over 120 years since Hedda Gabbler was introduced to the world in Henrik Ibsen's acclaimed play of a young woman searching for her personal freedom with devastating results. While it remains a classic in its own right, writer Keziah Warner has taken this story and transported it into a contemporary setting with Her Father's Daughter.
Performed in the Prahran Council Chambers, it is initially the
perfect setting to reflect the lifestyle that Hedda and her husband have. The difficulty with performing in the chambers, while appropriately opulent, is that none of these 'rooms' create an atmosphere of being in someone's home and as such you are unable to believe in the world being presented.
Despite this, director Cathy Hunt utilises the spaces to allow for constant movement and action from the cast that prevents them from being enveloped by the adornment and furnishings of the rooms. She ensures there's a familiarity with the way in which the actors interact with the environment but the final scene had a few issues with blocking and the tension between Hedda and Brack could have gone further in exploring the intensity and gravity of the events leading up to that moment.
Cait Spiker has the challenging role of Hedda Gabbler, and for the most
part she finds a great balance between exposing her vulnerability, her desires and her self-destructive ways. As the play continues and Hedda begins to unravel, Spiker becomes more relaxed in the role and delivers some engagingly raw and honest moments.
There is much to be intrigued about heading into Her Father's Daughter, but with a running time close to two hours, the show begins to lose momentum with scenes that play out too long and a cast that are still finding their feet with their characters. Adaptations are always going to make for interesting theatre and it's
easy to compare the two, but Warner's approach is too similar to its source material and the opportunity to blend the horror and beauty of contemporary living and the issues that rise from that feel missed.
Venue: Prahran Council Chambers, 180 Greville St, Prahran
Season: until 3 June | Tues - Sun 7pm, Sat - Sun 2pm
Tickets: $32 Full | $28 Conc
Bookings: Try Booking
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