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Posts Tagged ‘Will Keen’

Perhaps it wasn’t the play to end an exhausting day, but as much as I enjoyed the staging and acting of this 90 minute Ghosts, I left the Almeida thinking the universal euphoria was maybe a bit over-the-top.

You can see why Ibsen’s play shocked 130 years ago. Widow Helene Alving decides to invest the inheritance from her unhappy marriage in an orphanage and uses Pastor Manders to make it happen. The past comes back to haunt her – the truth of her relationships with her husband and the pastor, the reasons for the sickness of her son and the parentage of her maid. Adultery, illegitimacy, sexually transmitted diseases and the church in the 80’s – the 1880’s!

It’s beautifully set on Tim Hatley’s partly transparent / translucent set. Lesley Manville is wonderful as Mrs Alving and there are fine performances from Will Keen as the pastor and Jack Lowden as her son Oswald. I’m not sure why the maid and her father have Scottish accents, but it didn’t detract.

In truth, it isn’t a favourite play by a favourite playwright, but it seemed to me that, unlike the Young Vic’s recent A Doll’s House or director Richard Eyre’s own Hedda Gabler at the same venue eight years ago, it isn’t as revelatory or illuminating. I can’t say I regret going; maybe its just another case of failing to live up to the critical hype.

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