Wednesday, 20 November 2013

GHOSTS

by Henrik Ibsen
Almeida Theatre
Directed by Richard Eyre
Starring: Lesley Manville

What to say about Ghosts? Well, for a start, if you are used to Shakespeare, it is short. It takes place on one night - during which an incredible amount happens, including an orphanage burning down and an assisted suicide.  Regular Scandinavian type stuff in other words. At least by the end it has stopped raining.

It is not hard to imagine the electric effect this play must have had when first produced.  There are plenty of folk about even today who would be shocked by it - certainly anyone with a belief in a god of any sort.  Can't imagine it going down that well in, say, Tehran.  And it is quite exhausting to watch, as Helene Alving, in a performance by Lesley Manville which will win all the awards, reveals and has revealed unto terrible secret after secret, the 'ghosts' of her deceased husband and his mistresses doing their business bit by bit. Spouse exited saying she couldn't imagine how they performed it every night. Tickets cost £8.00.  Tickets for the woeful Much Ado at the Old Vic cost £55.00, so Ghosts was as much a bargain as Redgrave & Darth & Rylance were a rip-off.

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