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1:02am Thursday 17th October 2013 in Entertainments
IBSEN’S Ghosts takes a sad and serious look at family and the lies parents tell to protect their children.
The ghosts in Ibsen’s play are not ethereal spirits, but recurring patterns of behaviour and dead ideas.
Mrs Alving, the widow of a court chamberlain, decides to tell her son Osvald, who has returned from Paris, the truth about his late father – that he was a scoundrel who made her life a misery. But the tragedy is that she does so too late.
All the action takes place in the family’s front room, against a backdrop of a gloomy, rainy day which creates a sombre mood that runs throughout.
Patrick Drury shines as the Lutheran minister Pastor Manders, who told Mrs Alving to return to her husband when she sought his love and help.
He brilliantly conveys the pastor’s hypocrisy and narrow- mindedness, eliciting a fair few chuckles from the audience with his old-fashioned views and reactions.
Pip Donaghy was also great as Engstrand, a drunk carpenter and the father of Mrs Alving’s maid Regina, played by Florence Hall. Donaghy brought some much-needed moments of humour to this otherwise dark tale.
Kelly Hunter (Mrs Alving) and Mark Quartley (Osvald) both put in strong performances, although my companion felt at points they were overacting and lacked believability.
At times the drama did seem to spring from nowhere and Osvald did seem a bit melodramatic but the real reason for his return and his loss of the ability to paint are revealed at the tale’s tragic end and his slightly over-the-top behaviour becomes clear.
The backdrop was a clever tool which worked well and although the sun comes out at the end, you leave the theatre feeling anything but sunny.
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