Intriguing story of family secrets and unforeseen consequences

The Stables Theatre production of 'Ghosts' by Henrik Ibsen
The Stables Theatre production of 'Ghosts' by Henrik Ibsen

The show must go on. And so in the best theatrical tradition, despite the significant setback of a cast member collapsing at a dress rehearsal, Ghosts by Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, went ahead as planned.

Two stalwart members of the theatre, Leslie Adams and Ian Klemen, stepped into the vacated role of Reverend Manders on different nights of the show’s run.

Set in 1881, Ghosts reflected a time of change and development, dealing with among other issues, the collision of tradition with new ideas.

Sandy Truman, playing the lead, Helen Alving, did extremely well as a secure anchor for the rest of the cast and an encouraging foil for the stand-ins.

Fiona Wilson portrayed the role of the maid, Regina, with realism and expression; Alex Hunt as Oswald Alving and David Ames as Engstrand brought intensity and duplicity to their respective characters. The text was a very modern American translation. This made the language accessible, but possibly obscured and abridged the central ideas Ibsen wanted to convey. At times, it also brought an uncomfortable dissonance between the set and costumes of a firmly Victorian period with the language of 2001.

At publication in 1881 Ghosts was considered shocking and was not performed in England until much later. It is less likely to disturb a modern audience, but continues to be an intriguing story whose themes of family secrets, protected reputation and the unforeseen consequences of past events revisiting the present still resonate and are relevant today.