‘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

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