REVIEW Ghosts at Home Theatre
Friday 2nd December 2016 07:14 Entertainment Posted by Adam Higgins

Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts is performing at Home Theatre in Manchester until tomorrow (December 3).

Acclaimed actor Niamh Cusack is playing the role of widow Helen Alving and the cast includes Jamie Ballard, Ken Nwosu, Norah Lopez Holden and William Travis.

This is a new contemporary version of the play by David Watson and directed by Polly Findlay.

Helen Alving spent many years creating the illusion that her marriage to Captain Alving was happy, but this was far from the truth.

Helen despairingly tries to exorcise the past in this haunting story of deceptions and family secrets and when her son Osvald returns home, the past continues to plague the family and the ghosts remain.

Ghosts was written in 1881 and is viewed as one of Ibsen’s dark masterpieces.

The production is ghostly atmospheric and set in Mrs Alving’s estate in a Norwegian fjord. This psychological play has a surreal suspense where the house of secrets and shadows torment the characters.

It has a filmic quality with nuances of The Shining as you are kept on the edge of your seats! Nothing is quite what it seems and the twisted truth is finally brought out of the shadows in the cold light of the stormy setting, superbly designed by Johannes Schutz.

Niamh (Helen Alving), who has many theatre and television credits, including Silent Witness and Dr Kate Rowan in the long running television series Heartbeat, was mesmerising in the role and totally captivated the audience.

Northern actor William Travis (Jacob Engstrand) – best known for his six year role as Dick Lampard in Where the Heart Is and more recently in Coronation Street as Neil Beckett – brought humour to the production and was compelling from the moment he appeared.

Ken Nwosu (Osvald Alving) characterisation was charismatic and stunningly performed, in particular his demise at the end of the play.

The chemistry between Osvald and Helen was enigmatic as she vehemently tries to protect her son from the sins of his father.

Jamie Ballard (Pastor Manders) was commanding and intensive in the role and Norah Lopez Holden (Regine Engstrand) the maid of the household gave a strong and natural performance.

For performance times and bookings visit homemcr.org/ghosts or call the box office on (0161) 200 1500.

 

Review by Denise Evans

Main picture by Jonathan Keenan