Ben Brantley‘s 1.26 pan of the just-opened Hedda Gabler is a corker. The spirit was truly with him when he wrote it. “Ian Rickson, who this season delivered a nigh-perfect Seagull on Broadway, one of the best revivals I have ever, ever seen, is now responsible — oh, break, break my heart — for one of the worst revivals I have ever, ever seen. It’s not just that everyone is bad in this Hedda — it’s that they’re all bad in their own, different ways.
“Could it be that this production has fallen under the spell of Twilight, the hit movie from fall about the price of loving for teenage vampires? I mean, think about it. The forever fresh-faced Mary Louise Parker, one of our most delightful actresses, has traded in her usual air of easy, quirky spontaneity for the robotic petulance of an I-hate-everybody adolescent in a yearlong sulk. With her hair darkened, her face ghostly pale and her frame skeletal thin, her Hedda brings to mind a valley girl who’s given up cheerleading to be a goth because it’s way cooler and it matches the place her mind’s at now.”