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Review of Ghosts at Trafalgar Studio One

Ghosts at Trafalgar Studios OneFollowing a hugely successful, sell-out run at the Almedia Theatre, Ghosts has now made a transfer to the Trafalgar Studios, for a limited season. This production has been adapted and directed by Richard Eyre, awarded Best Director at the Evening Standard Awards. Complete with a phenomenal cast of highly talented actors this really is a must see for anyone.

Ghosts, by Henrik Ibsen is a fascinating and gripping play that examines social morality and human relationships. The play focuses in particular on the relationships the lead character, Helene, has developed with the people in her life. Helene, played by Lesley Manville, is a character haunted by the ghosts of her past and is unable to escape the tormented and poor existence her late husband led her during his philandering,  debauched and drunken life.

Surrounded by constant reminders of her husband’s sordid existence, one of the only bright lights in Helene’s world is her son, Oswald, who has returned home from France, with devastating news.

Manville is truly amazing as Helene, she has captured the repressed anguish and pain of the character perfectly and delivers a truly remarkable and emotional performance. The chemistry and interaction between the characters is wonderful to watch, even during some of the more intense and emotional scenes. The relationship between Helene and Oswald, played by Jack Lowden, is portrayed with sincerity and genuine emotional engagement. The final scene is acted by Manville and Lowden only, without going into too much detail this truly is a golden theatrical moment. The actors are emotionally raw and exposed, delivering a jaw dropping performance that will leave any audience transfixed.

The visual and audio elements of this production have been beautifully designed to complement the performance perfectly. The set is beautifully elaborate and gives the play a sense of grandeur and is very suggestive of the life Helene leads and the type of lady she is, which is a nice contradiction to the character herself.

This play is a true testament to Ibsen’s timeless writing, written in 1881 the themes within the play and the subject matter are still very much relatable for a modern audience. This is in part due to Eyre’s adaptation and direction as well as a fantastic cast of actors that bring the play to life.

This 90 minute play is fast paced, slick and very well acted, with a cast of five, each actor has achieved in creating truly unique characters that are strong and distinctive. The calibre and amount of theatre on offer in London is truly amazing, however, for me this play is an absolute gem and a top choice for anyone with a love of top quality theatre.

Review by Haydn James

Helene Alving has spent her life suspended in an emotional void after the death of her cruel but outwardly charming husband. She is determined to escape the ghosts of her past by telling her son, Oswald, the truth about his father. But on his return from his life as a painter in France, Oswald reveals how he has already inherited the legacy of Alving’s dissolute life.

Trafalgar Studios
Running Time: 90 minutes
Opened: 17th December 2013
Booking Until: 8th March 2014

Friday 20th December 2013