Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

At Theatr Clwyd

Clwyd Theatr Cymru- Ghosts , Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold , October 2, 2014
At Theatr Clwyd by Clwyd Theatr Cymru- Ghosts Emma Lucia's powerful and, at its climax, devastating production of Ghosts is one I found revelatory. What it revealed to me was exactly why its first criticisms, in England at least, were so vitriolic.

Here, laid raw and bleeding, are the certainties of respectable Victorian society. The church. Not only is Simon Dutton's excellent Parson Manders revealed to be narrow in his views and lacking in understanding, when his world of certainty is stripped right away he seems to become a helpless foetus unable to face being born.

The family. Here made manifest are the sins of the father being visited on the next generation with utterly appalling results. And the same father, a figure of seeming respectability, is also responsible for both creating another damaged family and a hell within a marriage.

Even the strong, independent minded and wholly sympathetic figure of Mrs Alving, an excellent Sian Howard, by trying to constantly do the right thing has managed to create fault lines in the relationships she has tried to help.

The only winner in all of this is the manipulative and deeply untrustworthy Jakob Engstrand, played with a powerful eel-like slipperyness by Llion Williams.

Both the maid, Regina, Michelle Luther, and the doomed son Oswald, Owain Gwynne, grow in stature as the play, performed without interval, moves to its climax. And the climax, even if you know what is coming, will leave you in shock.

Mike Poulton's new version finds an astonishing amount of humour in the play's early stages. It's a production, including rain, fire and a livid sunrise, that shows us an involving, raw and still modern play of great power.

Reviewed by: Victor Hallett

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