Friday, April 26, 2019

'Ghosts' by Henrik Ibsen in a new version by Mike Poulton

26 April 2019

Ibsen’s ‘Ghosts’ is a grim play: the Daily Telegraph review of the first London performance in 1891 called it “a wretched, deplorable, loathsome history”. It’s a tale of incest, betrayal and sexually transmitted infection but Mike Poulton’s new version, which we saw at the Royal Theatre in Northampton on Saturday, finds some welcome humour amongst the angst. Lucy Bailey’s Royal & Derngate production is simple and effective, with great acting from Penny Downie as Helen Alving and James Wilby who manages to make Pastor Manders both a scheming manipulator and a bumbling fool. Mike Britton’s set, inspired by the paintings of Vilhelm Hammershoi, is bold and clear and it was good to see the Royal & Derngate continuing its practice of using a Community Cast of local amateurs alongside the professional leads.

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