Almeida's 'harrowing and vivid' revival of Ibsen's Ghosts
Richard Eyre's fast-paced new adaptation of Ibsen's once-scandalous play is a triumph that grips throughout
What you need to know A new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts has opened at the Almeida Theatre, London. Ibsen's play, first staged in the late 19th century, created a scandal at the time and was banned in the UK. Director Richard Eyre's condensed version is based on a literal translation by Charlotte Barslund.
Ghosts follows the story of Helene Alving, a widow who attempts to escape the ghosts of her unhappy marriage by telling her son, Oswald, the truth about his womanising father, but realises that her revelations may have come too late to help him.
Lesley Manville (best-known for her award-winning collaborations with Mike Leigh) stars as Helene and Jack Lowden plays Oswald. Runs until 23 November.
What the critics like "Richard Eyre's new stripped-down 90-minute version of Ibsen's play is a masterpiece of compassion with glories too many to list," says Libby Purves in The Times. Eyre's taut direction ensures that we stay focused and fascinated on this poisoned jewel of love and desperation.
Eyre's superb staging of his own "fleet and vivid" adaptation grips throughout, says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. The in-the-moment intensity of the acting, strong sense of impending doom and raw, unbuttoned passion make this "a thrilling, harrowing play".
"Richard Eyre's powerfully intimate version of Ibsen's Ghosts is a triumph," says Susannah Clapp in The Observer. The action moves at a 21st-century lick and events arrive with the shock of a thriller, yet it is also truly moving.
What they don't like The Daily Telegraph's Charles Spencer, like most critics, cannot fault the quality of the production, but he admits: "The play's closing moments are almost too upsetting to watch." ·