(Paul Taylor's review appeared in the Independent, 2/25.)
Ghosts, Duchess Theatre, London
Further proof that English theatreis going through a wonderfully positive patch is furnished now with this terrifically compelling and often disarmingly comic account of Ibsen's Ghosts. Not only is actor Iain Glen making a most distinguished debut as a director, but he is turning in a witheringly satiric performance as Pastor Manders, the sanctimonious clerical hypocrite whose real God is not the Lord but his own fearfully guarded personal reputation in a community of small-minded backbiters.
My only niggle (and it was gradually eroded as the production proceeded) is Glen's accent that at first seems to waver between a poor man's Ian Paisley and Gardeners' Question Time. Apart from that, his performance and that of Malcolm Storry, as Engstrand, the dodgy carpenter, are masterly demonstrations of how Dickensian in his treatment of religiose humbug Ibsen can sometimes be. This wretched pair have profile-to-profile false piety contests here that are exquisitely well judged.
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