‘Ghosts’ was created by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in 1881 and includes diverse, weighty themes of religion, venereal disease, sibling incest and euthanasia.
This new modern interpretation, by David Watson, is layout as a naturistic Greek tragedy and claustrophobic thriller, performed over 3 acts in an uninterrupted 120min arch, ultimately ending in a heart-breaking climax. We are propelled, by the scruff of the neck, through a story of dark secrets, interconnecting characters and impending doom.
Helen Alving (Niamh Cusack) is a widow, building a memorial orphanage in honour of her late husband, Captain Alving, a widely respected gentleman. However, his wife knows him as an alcoholic womanizer and complete degenerate.
Other characters include Parson Manders (Jamie Ballard), an old friend of Mrs Alving, and self-anointed spiritual adviser to her and her son Oswald (KenNwosu). Regine Engstrand (Norah Lopez Holden), the nanny /housekeeper of the family and who’s drunken Father Jacob Engstrand (William Travis) is an unscrupulous builder.
This is a top-notch production of a classic and well-loved play, brought bang up to date with the use of modern dialogue and unfettered accents. The constant sense of claustrophobia that runs through the play is enhanced by Johannes Schutz’s wonderful stage design - set to allow glimpses into other half-hidden rooms. Lighting design (Franz Peter David) and sound design (EmmaLaxtons) helped magnificently in creating a wonderful atmosphere of despair and isolation; the sound of rain permeates through the theatre and assaults the senses.
This is an exceptional cast, delivering a pitch perfect performance; the play, heart-breaking and glorious in equal measures.
Ghosts continues at HOME until the 3rd December. https://homemcr.org/checkout/?pid=299417
Reviewer: Mike Neary
Reviewed: 23rd November 2016
North West End Rating: ★★★★
Photo: Jonathan Keenan