Storefront City London

Archive for the tag “Theatre”

Leviathan

WHAT: Leviathan
WHEN: 15th-26th July, 2014
WHERE: Hackney Downs Studios (17 Amhurst Terrace, E8 2BT)
Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 1.03.25 PMRUNTIME: 45 mins.
WHO: Living Structures
PRICE: £16-20

OUR RATING: Skip It!

[Warning: Contains Spoilers]

The hunt for the great white whale. Immersive Theatre-makers Living Structures specialise in  visual, physical and musical performances within large-scale immersive structures, this time attempting to take audiences on an artistic adventure through the high seas.

This time, Storefront City London invited our Visual Arts editor Éimear Doherty (check her bio below) along for the ride:

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 1.03.08 PM

Photo by Angela Alegria

Éimear: My first exposure to Moby Dick was the 1956 film starring Gregory Peck. I remember feeling perplexed and uneasy after the black and white classic…then again, I was only 7 years old, so I forgave myself for not quite picking up on the complexity of the tale and film. Last night, however, I felt a little bit of a failure. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to completely immerse myself in the experience, too distracted by a litany of questions:

Am I supposed to understand what they are saying?’

‘Why are they pushing me?’

‘What am I supposed to do with this shot of salted water?’

‘What did she say?’

‘Is this theatre or performance art?

I enjoyed the musical element of the performance; the chanting and exercise-ball-percussion brought a dimension to the experience that I think many could enjoy.

Photo from Living Structures

Photo from Living Structures

But Living Structures is known for their ‘immersive performance events’, correct? The audience was ‘immersed’ in parts, but if I am being honest, on too many occasions, I felt coerced. At 9pm, after a balmy day in London, I had experienced my fair share of pushing and shoving for the day. Either this was a play exclusively for Living Structures’ followers, who understood how to ‘perform’ as an attendee, or it aimed to immerse the audience in a space above and beyond their comfort zone.

As someone who enjoys trying new things, I cannot help but shed a positive light on the experience. It certainly did challenge and provoke many a thought. But surely nothing should be that difficult to follow and enjoy. This time, Skip it.

Photo by Angela Alegria

Photo by Angela Alegria

Alicia: Despite being a regular immersive-theatre goer, I had a strikingly similar experience of the performance as did our guest reviewer. Walking into the performance space sent chills down my spine (despite feeling clammy and uncomfortable wearing a version of an oil-skin jacket) as a naked Ishmael swam his way on a downward slope, struggling for survival, struggling to tell his heart-wrenching story. And it was powerful, beautiful, sonically excellent. But then he opened his mouth and the entire show turned for the worse.

Photo by Angela Alegria

Photo by Angela Alegria

There are seeds of beauty – flutters of potential. The use of monochrome colours, geometric shapes and Russian Constructivism are mostly all stunning, the choreography sometimes masterful. And the music? In an entire different league, at least in terms of composition – spectacularly haunting. But these moments are few and far between. The show as a whole feels extremely unpolished and the relationship with the audience completely unclear. It needs tightening here, expanding there, focus everywhere. Not just gimmicks of “Why not make the audience stand up and then push them to the side so they don’t know where you want them?” or “Let’s just put another sheet on top of their heads to play with space and height.” Many theatre makers adopt these types of tools, but never has it been so painfully obvious and obviously misused.

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 1.03.50 PMI commend Living Structures for the graphic and sonal beauty of rare poetically beautiful moments. But the piece overall is just confusing, rushed, and poorly tied together. Words are eaten by the very devices that are meant to project them, water cools and drizzles on the audience when it should spark and ignite their imagination, giant whales are flacid and lifeless when they should be terrifyingly dangerous, the ship sails calm seas when it should be tossed, turned and whipped around by perilous storms and a deadly beast, and large props are dragged here and there leaving one to question – what was it all for?

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 1.02.37 PMFinal Thoughts: While admirably composed and a good effort made, Leviathan simply doesn’t live up to the grandeur required of it. However, we hope to see what the future brings for this inspired company.

P.S. Éimear Doherty Bio:

Éimear is in the final stages of her MA in Arts Policy and Management at Birkbeck University, a project she juggles alongside a number of other projects and passions. Since moving permanently to London in the autumn of 2013, she has endeavoured to attend as much theatre as her time and pocket permits; striving to catch up after years of being immersed in the world of visual arts and art history. When not in the library or kitchen, Éimear can be found on her bike or eyeing up the city’s latest art exhibitions.

Macbeth

macbeth2WHAT: Macbeth
WHEN: 7:40pm-9:30am June – August, 2014 (select dates)
WHERE: Secret Zone 2 Location
RUNTIME: Approx. 14 hours
WHO: RIFT
PRICE:£20-40

OUR RATING: Do It!

(Warning, contains some spoilers)

A great Eastern European Banquet. Blood. Murder. The infamous Scottish play comes to life in a secret Zone 2 location. Billed as an immersive theatre piece, the performance takes place from dusk ‘til dawn, RIFT (formerly known as Retz) invites audiences to enter the rift and be transported to spend the night in a murderous building undergoing a series of intense political, emotional and moral conflicts.

macbeth1

Adam: Entering into the world of RIFT’s Macbeth is a hauntingly beautiful, spine-tingling and an (occasionally nervous) laughter-filled adventure. Begin by being whisked into a dark, dangerous void only to emerge into a dimly lit realm of intrigue and vice. The set, real rooms in a undisclosed building, is immense and meticulously dressed, while the acting convincing and consistent. Enter suites aptly named “Fife”, “Edinburgh” and so on, each holding a special scene just for you.

Credit RIFT

Credit RIFT

Different to most immersive events, narrative is no lost in scenic design as with recent Punchdrunk shows and is central to your experience. Don’t worry, you won’t miss anything as you are well looked-after (just watch out for the occasional blood-spatter). Interspersed with the action, you’ll have ample opportunities to mingle with fellow guests over many delicious beverages, but make sure you change enough money at the checkpoint on the way in.

My only minor concern (or should I call it confusion) was the choice to base the play in a stereotypical Eastern European/Balkan country called Borduria (which I believe is derived from the Tintin comics) rather than in pure Scotland. I partly find this an unfortunate decision, as Scotland was referred to by cast members often, even when not part of the original play. I feel that perhaps the organisers were subconsciously influenced by the 2007 version of Macbeth at the Chichester Festival Theatre, which was heavily based upon Stalinist Russia. Nevertheless, commitment to accents and characters was brilliant and not to be missed.

Credit RIFT

Credit RIFT

Alicia: What truly made this performance unique for me as a regular theatre (and immersive theatre)-goer was the element of personal engagement allowed for and nourished during the production. We were taken along with five other individuals into the first scene, and these were the five individuals we spent the rest of the night with, led by a group guide Natasha, who’s wit and delivery of comic responses to certain situations was absolutely classic! Natasha and the nurturing of the group dynamic created a little family of adventurers (many of us accidental illegal immigrants to the country of Borduria). Encompassing a broad range of unexpected genres – from moments of comedy to the clear dark tones of this tragedy – RIFT transported our entire group through an intimate, chaotic and tension filled epic.

The meal was also quite unexpected. I won’t go into the specifics and ruin the surprise, but RIFT definitely provided a sumptuous feast – and even if you are the most outrageous carnivore I bet you you’ll enjoy the bounteous vegetarian supper! This meal was yet another opportunity to engage with other audience members and the cast, who never once slipped from their characters despite sporting Eastern European accents for countless hours.

Credit RIFT

Credit RIFT

I must caution ye all, potential audiences of Macbeth, that this adventure is not without its dangers. I’m not quite sure it passes all of the safety requirements of a large-scale production, and I can feel my foot still throbbing from a raised doorstep and no cautions to watch my step. And if you don’t like stairs, this probably isn’t the production for you either. Nonetheless, I must say I think the level of attention put into such things was mostly acceptable, and I applaud their conversion of the site into their own unique realm without worrying about unnecessary bells and whistles some companies spend a fortune on.

macbeth5Final Thoughts: We say do it – but don’t get your hopes up too much about immersion lasting from dusk to dawn. The overnight aspect of the performance is not much more than a gimmick, with the performance lasting until 1am or so and with the only morning wrap up being a bit of food, a few minutes of acting and a forced prompt to survey the view from the roof. And make sure you are up for a late night when you opt-in to this, or if you really are tired when the acting ends and the night’s celebration begins, make sure you are proactive about telling the attendants you want to go to sleep – they don’t really make this option clear when the night starts to wind down.

Despite these pitfalls, you really do get your bang for your buck with this production, with hours of personal and engaging performance paired with a delicious feast and the opportunity to share a unique experience with those around you, and the supporting cast of guides and the amazing Alexander Luttley really do make you feel like you exist and matter in this new world. Just watch out about the first impressions you give off – nicknames will stick like glue!

The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes

WHAT: The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes
WHEN: March 19 – 22, 2014
rootexperienceWHERE: St. James Theatre (12 Palace Street, SW1E 5JA)
RUNTIME: Approx. 120 min
WHO: Root Experience
PRICE: £8

OUR RATING: Do It!

[vimeo 83862854]

“Secret….agent man. Secret….agent man!”

Okay, alright, maybe forget the song. But the 007 theme song or something similar might definitely buzz through your head while you are plunged into a new, challenging and adrenaline-filled world on a secret mission to protect each and every one of your fellow men and women.

Geo-Goynes-478x359Alicia: Root Experience is an interactive theatre company that devises performances based on “a structure that invites debate, direction and inclusion” from audiences, with an aim to have both audiences and actors feel fully present in the work at each and every moment. Although many of their workshops and performances have been in Brighton, this particular experience (in development) has traveled to both Brighton Digital Festival and York Theatre Royal, and now right to the heart of London.

Storefront City had the opportunity to test the waters with this show in development, merging gameplay and technology and allowing you to make choices that shape your own experience. Communicating through headsets, you encounter different people around the city and literally take part in writing the script to your own story (let’s just say I’m not very eloquent when put on the spot), sometimes working individually and sometimes in teams to pursue targets, monitor actions or even go undercover and attach yourself to the evil-doers.

In The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes, London becomes the backdrop to an adventure for truth and for those who know it, sell it, and use it to suit their own purposes. Welcome to 2017. A new era where your friends start to report strange feelings of foresight, where future events are predicted and identities transformed. Where no one is safe from the all seeing eyes, and when the future becomes the present, and the present a mission for survival.

Adam: Have you ever been asked to find a manila envelope taped to some inconspicuous location? How about distracting someone while obtaining information vital for your survival? If this is all too Spooks for you, then perhaps you won’t enjoy The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes. If, on the other hand, you’re like me you can’t get enough of spies and spying, then you’re in for a ride, sans the Walther PPK.

Placed in a small group, your team must work together to solve the mystery of Geo Goynes. I really don’t want to spoil it for you, but if you’ve ever wanted to play spy, this is a must for you. Fool the surveillance, try to deploy and virus, all while working out what it all means…

In this world, Root Experience welcomes you to contribute to the path that lies ahead of you, and while you might feel out of your comfort zone every once in awhile, you never feel unsafe or manipulated by the events you find yourself immersed in. But you are certainly an active participant and the mission would surely not go on without you.

Make sure to bundle up if it looks cold outside, because this show is entirely on the street…and don’t talk to strangers!

Final Thoughts: Explore London in a way you never have before and be prepared to play with others in this ultimate conspiratorial adventure!

P.S. Unfortunately, this show is now sold out, but we’re sure The Rise and Fall of Geo Goynes or other adventures by Root Experience will come around soon!

London, Underground

vaults2WHAT: London, Underground
WHEN: February 28 & March 1, 2014 (10:30pm-3am)
WHERE: The Vaults, Waterloo (Leake Street, SE1 7NN)
WHO: The nabokov Arts Club
PRICE: £15 (Advance) – £18 (Door)

OUR RATING: Do It!

vaults1

Welcome to VAULT, a six week festival of arts and entertainment (Jan 28 – Mar 8) produced by the Heritage Arts Company in the labyrinth of tunnels and caverns underneath Waterloo Station. And then there’s Vault LATES, late night events Thu-Sat that vary anywhere from silent discos to burlesque debauchery and even some Mardi Gras celebrations.

Storefront City helped The nabokov Arts Club celebrate their 5th Birthday at VAULT Festival last night at London, Underground, a two-night extravaganza of live art. You can celebrate too if you get down underground tonight beneath Waterloo Station. It’s time to explore!

Adam: Lights string into the depths of the passageways that make up the vast edifice which is The Vaults. Striking out into the the chaotic milieu of plays, live music and revellers, its easy to get lost in the fantasy world beneath the concrete of London’s streets. Alternative, yet not threatening, London, Underground provided a veritable playground for the artistic spirit within all of us. The heads of Guardsmen with neon skin tones give you a royal honour guard whenever you walk the main hall, whilst innumerable clouds waft overhead in The Light Bar. Smaller venue alcoves line the tunnel, so go ahead and take your pick!

2014-03-01 01.13.27Starting with “The Pit”, the first alcove to your left upon entry, I was delighted to be treated to two plays. First up was Plums by Luke Barnes, which brings you the story of two lovers whose hidden secrets are both touching and disturbing. This was followed up by This Isn’t A Thing, Right by Lolly Jones, a tale of sexual comfortability, longing and luck. While very well received by the audience (Lolly Jones is currently a viral video star), I didn’t connect with the piece as well as I would have liked.

Unfortunately, we missed the headline act, 3RUN vs Bellatrix, an immersive free running and beatbox experience, which was very disappointing. This is due mainly to signage within The Vaults, which was few and far between, with Storefront City only discovering the small runsheet once the headline performance was over. Perhaps this is in keeping with The Vaults eclectic and immersive styling, but further signage and direction in future would be helpful.

King Porter Stomp

King Porter Stomp

Alicia: Live theatre, music, cabaret, comedy, poetry and visual art explode underground, all mashed together in an extreme balance of intimate performance and all-out party. If you don’t feel like sitting down and watching one of the many live performances and instead want to take advantage of a wild and crazy weekend night, enter The Light Bar for all your live music needs. Earlier on in the night you can get low with Dizraeli & Downlow’s hip-hop set, or later you can experience live funk, ska, dub and hip hop from King Porter Stomp, an 8 piece blend of horns, heavy bass and lyrics. As the night goes on and the party gets kicking, the whole venue sets its sights on the last act of the night, a DJ set by the Mystery Jets.

Yet the highlight of the night was Symphony, a collaboration with new writing company nabokov and playwrights Ella Hickson, Nick Payne and Tom Wells, which has been playing in The Vaults since Feb 18. Theatre meets live gig in The Cage with 3 short plays, a mix of stories told through music and spoken word, directed by Joe Murphy with music by Ed Gaughan, and with amazingly talented performances by Remy Beasley, Jack Brown, Iddon Jones and Adam Sopp.

Symphony

Symphony

The format is unique, yet inviting, with the audience ushered into a room of musicians. But when the door closes behind you, the simple gig transforms a fusion of plays and songs, an electric synthesis of mediums that mimics the varied talents and fluctuating roles of the four performers. We were drawn into all three of their pieces on the night (one of the reasons we missed out on 3RUN  and Bellatrix), including Jonesy by Tom Wells (a tumultuous and hilarious vignette of an asthmatic teenage boy in P.E.), A Love Song for the People of London by Ella Hickson (a tale of unrequited love and awkward meetings on public transport) and My Thoughts On Leaving You by Nick Payne (a story of relationships and mistakes, with the requisite amount of alcoholic declarations of love, sombreros and bathroom stall hookups). If I wouldn’t have known the background to the performance, I would have assumed this quartet had always been an ensemble and that the pieces were all created by them. The sets were amazingly cohesive, and the performances both charming and intoxicating.

Final Thoughts: Awesome venue? Check! Live arts? Check! Fantastic night? Double Check! London, Underground is just the kind of event the city needs more of, so get there before it closes so you can be part of the experience.

P.S. Can’t make London, Underground? Or perhaps the ticket price is a little steep for you? Not to worry! Tickets to other shows are as little as £7.50, and you can even stop by Tuesday and Wednesday nights for free live music and comedy.

Hidden Show: The Good Neighbour

WHAT: Hidden Show: The Good Neighbour
WHEN: December 6 – January 4, 2013/2014
WHERE: Battersea Arts Centre (Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN)
RUNTIME: 135 to 160 minutes (no intermission)

WHO: Battersea Arts Centre
PRICE: £12-19.50

OUR RATING: Chance It!

Put on your thinking cap and channel your inner Sherlock with Battersea Arts Centre’s Hidden Show: The Good Neighbour. Complete with mystery and magic, this immersive theatre adventure impels you to delve into curious mysteries and discover fantastical characters, leaving audiences inspired, awed and heart-warmed.

Credit: BAC

Credit: BAC

Alicia: The Good Neighbour is a parent’s daydream. BAC offers audiences two choices of adventure, one being geared toward families with young children (6+), and the other specifically for audiences without the little ones who want an adventure just for themselves (14+; specifically entitled The Hidden Show: The Good Neighbour). All groups (led by an actor) are trying to solve the same mystery, but the groups diverge every now and again, with special stories catering to their specific audiences. Inspired by the historic 1909 fire at the Clapham Junction department store Arding and

Hobbs, audiences explore and investigate the mystery of George Neighbour, who has lost his memory and needs his fellow explorers to delve into the hidden chambers of BAC to search its history and find the pieces of his life’s puzzle.

Photo by James Allen

Photo by James Allen

It was quite lovely to sit in a room full of excited families, ready and willing to solve this great mystery. Yet, being part of the adult show, our group was separated from nine other children’s groups, sometimes being sole adventurers and sometimes running into the other groups and sharing beautiful experiences with them. One of the best moments of these shared experiences was in the

Momentorium, a room full of moments and memories, of bright light and the slow dripping of water. A momentologist had just finished showing us the film of a person’s memories, a home video full of illumination, laughter and family. As the momentologist was about to show another home video full of another person’s loving moments in life, a young boy, approximately six years old, said, “That was beautiful. I think this one’s going to be beautiful too.” I swear to you, the most magical moment of the whole night. Despite being part of the more adult group at times, I was thankful to have experienced moments with these developing minds, and to witness the imagination and inspiration flooding forth.

Photo by James Allan

Photo by James Allan

Our group traversed the entirety of the arts centre, knocking on hidden doors, crawling through passages and even discovering trap doors and hidden momentos. At times, I really did feel like Alice delving into the curiosities of Wonderland, finding hidden messages on blank pieces of paper, talking with lightbulbs and watching the dreams of a Japanese bee. Other great moments were being ogled at by patrons of the BAC who were just minding their own business in the cafe or sitting room, and who were suddenly interrupted by our intrusive investigative team on a rampage for answers.

Photo by James Allan

Photo by James Allan

Adam: Beautifully orchestrated and imaginatively conceived, Hidden Show: The Good Neighbour takes around 10% of the audience on a more adult, behind-the-scenes tour of the children’s version, which runs side-by-side. Immersive theatre has had a massive boost recently, with the acceptance of Punchdrunk as mainstream and audiences clamouring for all-surrounding sensational experiences to take them away from the daily grind. In this respect, Hidden Show: The Good Neighbour is successful, but mainly for children.

Photo by James Allan

Photo by James Allan

Why do I say this? Because in order for such immersive experiences to be successful, one must feel thrust wholly into it believably – and being talked down to doesn’t achieve this. Honestly, I’m being too harsh as I really enjoyed the overall experience. I played to them, allowing myself to be immersed (or was I forcing myself?). This allowed me to get a lot out of it, but I would guess others in my group would have discovered less wonder than I.

In fact, at one moment, I was allowed to lead the group to the next scene by reading the instruction on a clue. Luckily, I took this seriously and spoke up, allowing everyone to hear – which cannot be said for the other leaders who got us hopelessly lost. Again, one needs to want to be involved, which was not the case for the other leaders.

Photo by James Allan

Photo by James Allan

The world created inside BAC is exciting and interesting, but doesn’t have the majesty of other immersive shows I’ve experienced. I was also highly suggest that the actors vary their performances dependent on the age of their audience: there’s nothing worse than being spoken to as if one were on Wizadora. If you have children this will be a treat, but otherwise only go if you have an imagination!

Final Thoughts: Families with young ones will find this an amazing explorative adventure full of wonder and delight. Meanwhile, adventurers sans-kids might want to reconsider this forey.

P.S.: For more great kids’ theatre, why not check out The Silent Language at Storefront City Chicago.

Ghosts

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.54.22 PMWHAT: Ghosts
WHEN: September 26 – November 23, 2013 (schedule)
WHERE: Almeida Theatre (Almeida St., N1 1TA)
RUNTIME: 90 minutes, no intermission
WHO: Almeida Theatre
PRICE: £8-32

OUR RATING: Do It!


Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 9.54.39 PMMorality, malady, deviance…such is the world constructed before us by Richard Eyre, Britain’s foremost director, in his shiningly brilliant production of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts. Appropriately titled for this autumn season, Ghosts doesn’t fail to shock, question and lead its audience through a fallen beauty that is dazzling and yet somehow extremely pertinent to our times.

Lesley Manville (Helene) and Jack Lowden (Oswald)

Lesley Manville (Helene) and Jack Lowden (Oswald)

Widow Helene Alving (Lesley Manville) lives in a skeletal mansion that at once seems to brighten and dim with her emotion. She harbours a dreadful secret, the repression of which has brought Helene to the brink. Now, with the return of her artist son Oswald (Jack Lowden), she must finally unshroud the truth and present its hideous form, no matter what the cost.

Will Keen (Manders) and Lesley Manville (Helene)

Will Keen (Manders) and Lesley Manville (Helene)

Adam: Entering the theatre, I thought I knew what I was in for. The framework of Ibsen reminds one of an ever-encroaching black night, readying itself to engulf the audience in a cloud of depressive defiance. And yet, upon taking my seat, I could not help feel that this production cast Ghosts in a whole new light. An airy feel that led me to believe that liberation was within reach, a tantalising figment that might just be snatched up.

Charlene McKenna (Regina)

Charlene McKenna (Regina)

In essence, Ghosts is a work on 19th century morality – the ever present tug between the upright and moral (or the stuffy and oppressive), and the carefree and creative (or irresponsible and selfish). While one might think these debates were laid to rest along with all the dead religiosity that corseted Victorian society, it seems that we were mistaken. Organised religion (and ideologies in general) still preach to us, whether it is preventing women from wearing the hijab, extolling us to marry traditionally or even telling us what not to eat. In society, there are always those who wish to restrict (or is it protect?) the freedoms of others, as much today as in Ibsen’s time. Ghosts wrestles with extremes, and through this we are left wondering how we can travel a moderate path that avoids oppression AND unrestricted hedonism.

Will Keen (Manders) and Lesley Manville (Helene)

Will Keen (Manders) and Lesley Manville (Helene)

For each type of indulgence, religious or libertine, results in a destruction, as we see in the tragically upsetting undoing of Helene’s son. Lowden’s portrayal lends itself to the Bridesheadian epitome of the disaffected, bored and damaged scion returning home after his revels in Europe. Through a sensitive and considered performance, Lowden explains to us the pain of bitter fruits bestowed to him from the past – like all the characters, and arguable people, the mental shadows that inhabit the corners of his mind plague his every excruciating word.

Charlene McKenna (Regina) and Brian McCardie (Jacob)

Charlene McKenna (Regina) and Brian McCardie (Jacob)

However, Ibsen is quite aware that presenting this work entirely as one of woe would not do, and as such provides us with a spot of comic relief in the form of Jacob Engstrand (Brian McCardie), the lowly father of the maid Regina. Using pity, wily tactics and other such methods, Engstrand lives off others while justifying his own parasitic position. However, McCardie’s bawdy fun can seem quite disturbing at times, creating the impression of devilish clowning with a definite malignant twist. His display of this character trait is magnificent and leaves one with a sense of double mind about the character.

Will Keen (Manders) and Jack Lowden (Oswald)

Will Keen (Manders) and Jack Lowden (Oswald)

Alicia: Upon setting foot in the theatre, one is immediately arrested by Tim Hatley’s set design. There is your usual beautiful Victorian-esque drawing and dining rooms, but Hatley places a semi-transparent and murky wall between the two. While rapt by the dialogue on stage in the drawing room, one is also audience to the shadowed world of the dining room beyond and its inhabitants, like haunted ghosts of another time.

Lesley Manville (Helene)

Lesley Manville (Helene)

Unfortunately, John Leonard’s sound design does not match the quality of other designs on the stage. While the ambient sound in the first couple of scenes help create a believable world, certain effects later on took me out of the scene entirely, providing a rather silly attempt at realism. And then, worst of all, the final and passionate scene between mother and son at the end of the play is ruined by an odd design/directorial decision to play really loud classical music while turning the entire scene orange and red. The design entirely took over the acting moment, just at the point when Manville and Lowden are giving their all.

Lesley Manville (Helene) and Jack Lowden (Oswald)

Lesley Manville (Helene) and Jack Lowden (Oswald)

Yet, to be perfectly honest I am being very hard on these few moments, as I ultimately felt riveted during the entire performance. As mentioned by Adam, Lowden performs stunningingly. I have always felt that Ibsen’s male characters are relatively weak in comparison to their female counterparts, and thus on stage I usually waive them off as merely supports for their leading lady. However, Lowden performed his part amazingly, with just the perfect amount of weakness and support as to keep in line with Ibsen’s character while also retaining a sense of strength and independence that I found refreshing. Performances by the snake-like pastor Manders (Will Keen) and the feisty maid Regine (Charlene McKenna) are also stunning in their portrayals.

Lesley Manville (Helene)

Lesley Manville (Helene)

And then there is Lesley Manville, who goes between fiery determination and shocking grief, bringing both love and pain to the forefront. One is completed exhausted at the end of the play having watched her on a rollercoaster of feeling. She is a wonderful force to be reckoned with.

Final Thoughts: Top class performances from well-known stars directed by a master of the art makes Ghosts a must-see. A powerful production with many angles, this is 90 minutes of sheer psychology that will leave you fascinated, disturbed and touched.

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