Eyre Brings Best Hedda Gabler into Duke of York’sDate: 8 April 2005
Eve Best (pictured) will bring her acclaimed Hedda to the West End next month (See The Goss, 22 Jan 2004). Richard Eyre’s new version of Henrik Ibsen’s 1890 classic Hedda Gabler, currently at north London’s Almeida Theatre (See News, 17 Dec 2005), will transfer to the Duke of York’s Theatre, where it’s due to open on 23 May 2005 (previews from 19 May).
A regular at the National Theatre in recent years, Best won last year’s Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actress for her performance in Mourning Becomes Electra. Her other NT productions have been Three Sisters, The Coast of Utopia, The Cherry Orchard and The Heiress, while elsewhere her credits include Macbeth, Brothers and Sisters and The Misanthrope. For her 1999 performance opposite ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore at the Young Vic, she won both the Critics' Circle and Evening Standard awards for best newcomer.
In Hedda Gabler, Best is joined by Lisa Dillon (who won last year’s Critics’ Circle newcomer award for The Master Builder and Iphigenia) as Hedda’s rival in love Thea Elvsted, Iain Glen (The Seagull, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Blue Room) as her blackmailer Judge Brack, and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Lady from the Sea at the Almeida, TV’s Hawking) as husband George Tesman.
The cast also features Gillian Raine (as aunt Juliana Tesman), Jamie Sives (former lover Eilert Lovborg) and Sarah Flind (Berthe). Hedda Gabler is adapted and directed by Eyre, who was NT artistic director from 1988 to 1997 and whose other recent credits include the multi award-winning Vincent in Brixton and, currently in the West End, the musical Mary Poppins on stage and Iris on screen. The production is designed by Rob Howell with lighting by Peter Mumford.
Set in the Norwegian home of newlyweds George and Hedda Tesman near the turn of the 20th century, Hedda Gabler reveals a passionate woman struggling in a bourgeois world that she finds devoid of excitement.
Currently at the Duke of York’s, Peter Hall’s revival of Ronald Harwood’s 1980 backstage homage, The Dresser, starring Nicholas Lyndhurst and Julian Glover, opened on 28 February 2005 (previews 22 February), and is due to conclude its limited season 14 May 2005 (See News, 30 Dec 2004).
- by Terri Paddock