The Wellesley’s programme of LIVE events for this month begins on Thursday 9 March with the transmission of Henrik Ibsen’s resounding, powerful play ‘Hedda Gabler’.
This National Theatre production stars Ruth Wilson as Hedda. Her performance has been described as ‘extraordinary’, ‘sensational’ and ‘one of the performances of the year’ in Ibsen’s radical presentation of a woman who is both tragic heroine and conniving monster.
Ivo van Hove directs this modern dress production. The updating has caused some critics to question whether, in presenting the audience with recognisably ‘modern’ characters instead of those in 1890’s whalebone corsets, the play loses some of the impact in addressing the issue of male domination and the limited options available to women.
There is, though, complete agreement amongst critics that Ruth Wilson’s performance as the volatile Hedda, a woman trapped by circumstances inside a meaningless marriage to the academic George Tesman, is remarkable.
The supporting cast includes Rafe Spall as the manipulative, conniving Judge Brack, Sinéad Matthews as Thea Elvsted who presents a contrasting image of femaleness to Hedda and Chukwudi Iwuji as recovering alcoholic Eilert Lovborg whose academic brilliance challenges George Tesman’s, a role played by American actor Kyle Soller.
For those who missed the National Theatre’s LIVE transmission of Peter Shaffer’s ‘Amadeus’ last month, there’s a chance to see it when it is encored at The Wellesley on Thursday 16th March.
The play was first performed at the National Theatre in 1979 and later adapted into an Academy Award winning film. It tells the story of the arrival in Vienna of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a rowdy young prodigy, determined to make an impression. Court composer Antonio Salieri recognises his genius and has the power to promote his talent or destroy it. Seized by obsessive jealousy he begins a war with Mozart, with music and, ultimately, with God.
Directed by Michael Longhurst, the production – described as ‘stunning’ by critics – stars Lucian Msamati as Salieri and Adam Gillen as Mozart.
Two further LIVE events will be transmitted later in March: The Bolshoi’s ‘Contemporary Evening’ will be screened at 3pm on Sunday 19 March and the Royal Opera’s production of ‘Madame Butterfly’ can be seen on Thursday 30 March at 7.15pm.