Ghosts

Play by Henrik Ibsen. Mrs Alving is making preparations for the opening of an orphanage - a memorial to her late husband. Her son Oswald, an artist, returns home for the celebrations. A saga of love, betrayal and hypocrisy gradually unfolds as ghosts from the past come back to haunt the living making sure the sins of the fathers are never forgiven in Ibsen's unforgettable social drama.

The play was originally championed in London by the theatre impresario Jacob Thomas 'Jack' Grein. He founded the 'Independent Theatre Society' in 1891 and, knowing that the play would be unlicensable by the Lord Chamberlain for public performance, presented the Private West End Premiere of Ghosts for a 'private' performance at the West End's Royalty Theatre. As it was a private invitation performance, tickets where not sold but instead where made available to paid subscribers of the newly launched 'Independent Theatre Society'.

The play was again presented under the auspices of Mr J T Grein for two private performances in 1914. Now, with some 23 years having past since the London Premiere, Mr Grein believed that the time was right to submit the play to the Lord Chamberlain, with a 'public performance license' duly issued. To mark the Public West End Premiere a special public performance of the play - under the Royal Norwegian Patronage of their Majesties the King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Wales - was held at the Haymarket Theatre on Tuesday 14 July 1914.

All these performances where presented as 'one-off' performances - the first significant production in terms of number of performances was Victor Lewis' revival at the Kingsways Theatre in 1917 featuring Miss Darragh which run for a very respectable 96 performances. Also notable is Dennis Arundell's revival at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1943 featuring Beatrix Lehmann which run for some 74 performances.

Some notable actresses to have played the role of 'Mrs Helen Alving' in London in more recent times include Peggy Ashcroft in 1967, Irene Worth in 1974, Vanessa Redgrave in 1986, Jane Lapotaire in 1994, and Diana Quick in 2002.

The longest running West End production was Robin Phillips' revival featuring Francesca Annis and Anthony Andrews at the Comedy Theatre in 2001 which played for 120 performances, with five preview performances.

The longest running London production was Richard Eyre's 2013 revival featuring Lesley Manville which run for a combined total of 163 performances, plus five preview performances. It originated at London's Almeida Theatre, where it played for 55 performances and five preview performances, before transferring to the West End's Trafalgar Studios where it played an additional 108 performances.

1891 Original West End (Private) Production with Mrs Theodore Wright

1893 London Revival (Private) with Mrs Theodore Wright

1906 London Revival (Private) with Madge McIntosh

1914 London Revival (Private) with Bessie Hatton

1914 Original West End Production (Public) with Bessie Hatton

1917 West End Revival with Miss Darragh

1917 West End Revival with Catherine Lewis

1923 West End Revival (Italian) with Eleonora Duse

1924 West End Revival (Yiddish) with Anna Appel

1925 London Revival with Irene Rooke

1928 West End Revival with Mrs Patrick Campbell and John Gielgud

1930 London Revival with Sybil Thorndike

1933 London Revival with Louise Hampton

1935 West End Revival with Nancy Price

1937 West End Revival with Marie Ney

1940 West End Revival with Katina Paxinou

1943 West End Revival with Beatrix Lehmann

1958 West End Revival with Flora Robson

1965 London Revival with Catherine Lacey and Leonard Rossiter

1967 West End Revival with Peggy Ashcroft

1974 London Revival with Irene Worth and Robert Stephens

1984 London Revival with Lynn Farleigh

1986 West End Revival with Vanessa Redgrave

1994 London Revival with Jane Lapotaire

2001 West End Revival with Francesca Annis and Anthony Andrews

2002 London Revival with Diana Quick and Daniel Evans

2003 London Revival with Pernilla August

2010 West End Revival with Lesley Sharp and Iain Glen

2013 West End Revival with Lesley Manville

Henrik Ibsen's other plays include A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler, Brand, Rosmersholm, and The Master Builder.


1891 Original West End (Private) Production with Mrs Theodore Wright

Friday 13 March 1891 at the Royalty Theatre (now demolished)

Presented for one performance, in an adaptation by William Archer.

The cast featured Mrs Theodore Wright as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Frank Lindo as 'Oswald Alving', Leonard Outram as 'Pastor Manders', Sydney Howard as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Edith Kenward as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Staged, as a 'private performance', by Mr J T Grein's Independent Theatre Society as their inaugural production. The Royalty Theatre was renamed 'The Independent Theatre' for this single performance.

The play was choosen as it was hoped that the subject matter would cause public debate, and therefore also help to publicise the newly launched Independent Theatre Society. Because Mr Grein knew the play would not be considered as suitable for a public performance, the Lord Chamberlain's Office was not even asked to grant a 'public performance license' for the play. Instead it was presented as a 'private invitation' performance to much public uproar, perhaps most (in)famously by the theatre critic Clement Scott who wrote in the Daily Telegraph: "The play performed last night is 'simple' enough in plan and purpose, but simple only in the sense of an open drain; of a loathsome sore unbandaged; of a dirty act done publicly."

The Royalty Theatre was located at 72-74 Dean Street, Soho, and is now an office block named 'Royalty House'.


1893 London Revival (Private) with Mrs Theodore Wright

26 January 1893 at the Bijou Theatre (disused)

Presented for one performance, in an adaptation by William Archer (?).

The cast featured Mrs Theodore Wright as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Lewis Waller as 'Oswald Alving', Leonard Outram as 'Pastor Manders', F Norreys Connell as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Miss Hall Caine as 'Regina Engstrand'.

A 'private invitation' performance.

The Bijou Theatre was a small private theatre located at on the top floor of Bedford House, 3 Bedford Street, Strand, in Covent Garden. The building was used as an 'Academy of Acting', but has since been converted to offices and apartments.


1906 London Revival (Private) with Madge McIntosh

Sunday 11 March 1906 at the King's Hall (now demolished)

Presented for one performance, in an adaptation by William Archer (?).

The cast featured Madge McIntosh as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Arthur Goodsall as 'Oswald Alving', Lumsden Hare as 'Pastor Manders', Arthur Curtis as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Isabel Roland as 'Regina Engstrand'.

A 'private invitation' performance.

The King’s Hall was located in the Holborn Restaurant, Covent Garden, on the south-west corner of Kingsway and High Holborn.


1914 London Revival (Private) with Bessie Hatton

Sunday 26 April 1914 (evening only) at the Court Theatre (now Royal Court Theatre)
Tuesday 19 May 1914 (matinee only) at the Court Theatre (now Royal Court Theatre)

Presented for two performances, in an adaptation by William Archer.

The cast for both performances featured Bessie Hatton as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Leon Quartermaine as 'Oswald Alving', J Fisher White as 'Pastor Manders', Stacey Aumonier as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Dorothy Drake as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Presented as 'private invitation' performances under the auspices of Mr J T Grein's Independent Players.

The Sunday 26 April 1914 performance was held in support of the 'New Constitutional Society for Women's Suffrage'.


1914 Original West End Production (Public) with Bessie Hatton

Tuesday 14 July 1914 (matinee only) at the Haymarket Theatre

Presented for one performance, in an adaptation by William Archer.

The cast featured Bessie Hatton as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Leon Quartermaine as 'Oswald Alving', J Fisher White as 'Pastor Manders', Stacey Aumonier as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Dorothy Drake as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Presented under the auspices of Mr J T Grein's Independent Players.

Following two 'private' performances held earlier in the year at the Court Theatre (see above), Mr J T Grein asked the Lord Chamberlain's Office to issue a 'public performance' license for the play and this was granted. Therefore the performance on Tuesday 14 July 1914 was officially the play's first 'public performance' in London, and the UK. It was performed under the 'Patronage of their Majesties the King and Queen of Norway' who sent their best wishes, via a telegram read out on stage, to both the actors, and all those involved in the production.


1917 West End Revival with Miss Darragh

Opened 28 April 1917, Closed 20 July 1917 at the Kingsway Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by William Archer.

The cast featured, Miss Darragh (Letitia Marion Dallas) 'Mrs Helen Alving', Basil Sydney as 'Oswald Alving', Bertie Thomas as 'Pastor Manders', Charles Groves as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Helen Temple as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Victor Lewis.

The Kingsway Theatre was a 560-seater theatre located at 8 Greet Queen Street, Covent Garden, now demolished to make way for an office block.


1917 West End Revival with Catherine Lewis

Opened 6 November 1917, Closed 17 November 1917 at the St James's Theatre (now demolished)

Presented in an adaptation by William Archer.

The cast featured Catherine Lewis as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Maurice Elvey as 'Oswald Alving', Herbert Thomas as 'Pastor Manders', Charles Groves as 'Jacob Engstrand' and Pax Robertson as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Douglas Gordon.

The St James's Theatre was located in King Street, St James, opposite Bury Street.


1923 West End Revival (Italian) with Eleonora Duse

Tuesday 12 June 1923, and Tuesday 19 June 1923 at the New Oxford Theatre

Presented in Italian under the title Spettri, for two matinee performances.

The cast included Eleonora Duse as 'Mrs Helen Alving'.

Presented as part of a three-week 'Eleonora Duse Season' with matinee performances on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from Thursday 7 to Tuesday 25 June 1923 which also included Henrik Ibsen's La Donna del Mare (The Lady from the Sea), and Tommaso Gallarati Scotti's Cosi Sia (The Vow).

The New Oxford Theatre was located on the North side of Oxford Street, on the corner with Tottenham Court Road (now the location of Primark).


1924 West End Revival (Yiddish) with Anna Appel

Monday 26 May 1924, Tuesday 27 May 1924, Thursday 5 June 1924 at the Prince of Wales

Presented in Yiddish by the Yiddish Art Theatre of New York.

Presented for three performances, on Tuesday and Monday evening, and Thursday matinee, as part of a two-week season at the Prince of Wales Theatre from Monday 26 May 1924 to Saturday 7 June 1924.

The cast included Anna Appel as 'Mrs Helen Alving'.

The other plays in the season included Leonid Andreyev's The Seven Who Were Hanged; Maxim Gorky's Rags; J Julawsky's Shabbethai Zebi; Sholem Aleichem's Tobias the Dairyman (AKA Tevye the Dairyman, and the basis for the musical Fiddler on the Roof); and Ernst Toller's Red Laughter (AKA The Red Laugh).


1925 London Revival with Irene Rooke

Opened 13 October 1925, Closed 31 October 1925 at the Everyman Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by R Farquharson Sharp.

The cast featured Irene Rooke as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Ernest Milton as 'Oswald Alving', George Merritt as 'Pastor Manders', William Pringle as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Jane Wood as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Milton Rosmer.

The Everyman Theatre was located in Holly Bush Vale, off Heath Street, in Hampstead, and is now the 'Everyman Cinema'.


1928 West End Revival with Mrs Patrick Campbell and John Gielgud

Tuesday 27 March 1928 matinee at the Wyndham's Theatre
Returned 10 to 20 April 1928 (selected matinees) at the Wyndham's Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by William Archer.

The cast featured Mrs Patrick Campbell as 'Mrs Helen Alving', John Gielgud as 'Oswald Alving', Fewlass Llewellyn as 'Pastor Manders', Frederick Lloyd as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Margot Sieveking as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Malcolm Keen.

Initially presented for one matinee performance only as part of the 'Ibsen Centenary Festival' to mark the centenary of the birth of Henrik Ibsen on 20 March 1828.

Three Ibsen plays where each performed for one matinee each, the other two being An Enemy of the People on Monday 26 March 1928, and The Wild Duck on Friday 30 March 1928.

The production was then brough back the following month for seven additional matinee performances, with the same cast, on Tuesday 10, Thursday 12, Friday 13, Monday 16, Tuesday 17, Thursday 19, and Friday 20 April 1928.


1930 London Revival with Sybil Thorndike

Opened 19 April 1930, Closed 3 May 1930 at the Everyman Theatre
Transferred 7 May 1930, Closed 11 May 1930 at the Arts Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by William Archer.

The cast at the Everyman Theatre and the Arts Theatre featured Sybil Thorndike as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Hubert Langley as 'Oswald Alving', Stanley Howlett as 'Pastor Manders', Alfred Clark as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Mary Grew as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Malcolm Morley.

The Everyman Theatre was located in Holly Bush Vale, off Heath Street, in Hampstead, and is now the 'Everyman Cinema'.


1933 London Revival with Louise Hampton

Sunday 26 March 1933 at the Arts Theatre

Presented for one performance only, in an unknown adaptation.

The cast featured Louise Hampton as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Francis James as 'Oswald Alving', Charles Carson as 'Pastor Manders', Lawrence Hanray as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Gabrielle Casartelli as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Malcolm Morley.

Following the one performance at the Arts Theatre, this production transferred to the Q Theatre (now demolised, was located in Kew Bridge Road, opposite Kew Bridge Station) from 3 April 1933, for a one-week run with the same cast apart from Arthur Ewart taking over as 'Pastor Manders', and Richard Goolden taking over as 'Jacob Engstrand'.


1935 West End Revival with Nancy Price

Opened 19 July 1935, Closed 25 July 1935 (selected matinees) at the Little Theatre (now demolished)
Transferred 30 July 1935, Closed 10 August 1935 at the Duke of York's Theatre

Presented in an unknown adaptation.

The cast at London's Little Theatre and the West End's Duke of York's Theatre featured Nancy Price as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Glen Byam Shaw as 'Oswald Alving', George Zucco as 'Pastor Manders' (Little Theatre), Oliver Johnston as 'Pastor Manders (Duke's of York's Theatre), Morris Harvey as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Elizabeth Maude as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Per Lindberg.

Three matinee performances at the Little Theatre: Friday 19 July, Tuesday 23 July, and Thursday 25 July 1935.

Fifteen performances at the Duke of York's Theatre on a 'standard' eight-performances-a-week schedule.

The 371-seater Little Theatre at Adelphi was located in a converted banking hall on the north side of John Street, now John Adam Street. An office block named 'Adelphi' now covers the area that included the theatre.


1937 West End Revival with Marie Ney

Opened 8 November 1937, Closed 27 November 1937 at the Vaudeville Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by Norman Ginsbury.

The cast featured Marie Ney as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Clifford Evans as 'Oswald Alving', Stephen Murray as 'Pastor Manders', Frederick Bennett as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Sylvia Coleridge as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Esme Church.

Presented by the Old Vic Company.

This production was originally staged in repertory at the Buxton Theatre Festival from 30 August to 18 September 1937, with George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure.

The cast at the Buxton Theatre Festival was the same as in the West End, with the exception of Emlyn Williams who played the role of 'Pastor Manders' at Buxton.


1940 West End Revival with Katina Paxinou

Opened 30 May 1940, Closed 8 June 1940 at the Duchess Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by William Archer.

The cast featured Katina Paxinou as 'Mrs Helen Alving', John Carol as 'Oswald Alving', Nicholas Hannen as 'Pastor Manders', Edward Rigby as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Marian Dothwell as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Charles Hickman.


1943 West End Revival with Beatrix Lehmann

Opened 25 June 1943, Closed 28 August 1943 at the Duke of York's Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by Norman Ginsbury.

The cast featured Beatrix Lehmann as 'Mrs Helen Alving', John Carol as 'Oswald Alving', Edward Byrne as 'Pastor Manders', Harry Herbert as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Elizabeth Hunt as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Dennis Arundell.


1958 West End Revival with Flora Robson

Opened 12 November 1958, Closed 6 February 1959 (in repertory) at the Old Vic Theatre
Transferred 6 April 1959, Closed 2 May 1959 at the Princes Theatre (now Shaftesbury Theatre)

Presented in an adaptation by Norman Ginsbury.

The cast featured Flora Robson as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Ronald Lewis as 'Oswald Alving', Michael Hordern as 'Pastor Manders' (Old Vic Theatre), Donald Wolfit as 'Pastor Manders' (Princes Theatre), Daniel Thorndike as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Anne Iddon as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by John Fernald, with designs by Neil Hobson.

Presented by the Old Vic Company.


1965 London Revival with Catherine Lacey and Leonard Rossiter

Opened 6 April 1965, Closed 8 May 1965 at the Theatre Royal Stratford East

Presented in an adaptation by Michael Meyer.

The cast featured Catherine Lacey as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Barry Warren as 'Oswald Alving', Leonard Rossiter as 'Pastor Manders', Dan Thorndike as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Patricia England as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Adrian Rendle, with designs by Andrew and Margaret Brownfoot.


1967 West End Revival with Peggy Ashcroft

Opened 14 June 1967, Closed 3 February 1968 (in repertory) at the Aldwych Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by Denis Cannan, from a version by William Archer.

The cast featured Peggy Ashcroft as 'Mrs Helen Alving', John Castle as 'Oswald Alving' (up to Saturday 25 November 1967), Michael Jayston as 'Oswald Alving' (from Tuesday 28 November 1967), David Waller as 'Pastor Manders', Clifford Rose as 'Jacob Engstrand', Chloe Ashcroft as 'Regina Engstrand' (up to Saturday 25 November 1967), and Natasha Pyne as 'Regina Engstrand' (from Tuesday 28 November 1967).

Directed by Alan Bridges, with designs by Jocelyn Herbert.

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.


1974 London Revival with Irene Worth and Robert Stephens

Previewed 16 January 1974, Opened 17 January 1974, Closed 4 May 1974 (in repertory) at the Greenwich Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by Michael Meyer.

The cast featured Irene Worth as 'Mrs Helen Alving', Peter Eyre as 'Oswald Alving', Robert Stephens as 'Pastor Manders', Anthony Brown as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Nicola Pagett as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Jonathan Miller, with sets by Patrick Robertson, and costumes by Rosemary Vercoe.


1984 London Revival with Lynn Farleigh

Previewed 14 May 1984, Opened 16 May, Closed 2 June 1984 at the Shaw Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by Michael Meyer.

The cast featured Lynn Farleigh as 'Mrs Alving', Simon Chandler as 'Oswald Alving', William Hoyland as 'Pastor Manders', Bob Mason as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Lysette Anthony as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Caroline Eves, with sets by Richard Bullwinkle, and costumes by Christopher Cowell.

This production very nearly didn't happen: It was originally concieved as a co-production between Camden Council's publicly-funded New Shaw Theatre Company and commercial backers, with Astrid Frank taking the lead role in a specially commissioned new adaptation by Ronald Hayman, and a 'hoped-for' West End transfer. Unfortunately, due to 'artistic difference', Astrid Frank decided to leave the production two weeks prior to opening, taking both the majority of the commercial backers, and the rights to the new adapation, with her.

The Shaw theatre decided to go ahead with the production and cover the costs of the production themselves, using an already available adaptation by Michael Meyers. Then, just days before opening, Bill Simpson - a 'box-office friendly' name having starred as the title character in the BBC television series Dr Finlay's Casebook - was rushed to hospital with a suspected hernia and was told to rest, with his role being taken over at the last minute by William Hoyland.

The short two-and-a-half-week run, with no West End transfer, proved to be a financial disaster, reportedly losing around 70% of its costs, which for the Shaw Theatre represented around half of their annual financial grant from Camden Council.


1986 West End Revival with Vanessa Redgrave

Previewed 2 October 1986, Opened 7 October, Closed 1 November 1986 at the Young Vic
Transferred 19 November 1986, Closed 14 February 1987 at the Wyndham's Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by Peter Watts, with the cast.

The cast at London's Young Vic and the West End's Wyndham's Theatre featured Vanessa Redgrave as 'Mrs Alving', Adrian Dunbar as 'Oswald Alving', Tom Wilkinson as 'Pastor Manders', Peter Theedom as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Eve Matheson as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by David Thacker, with designs by Shelagh Keegan, and lighting by Paul Denby.


1994 London Revival with Jane Lapotaire

Previewed 31 March 1994, Opened 6 April 1994, Closed 3 September 1994 (in repertory) at the Barbican Pit Theatre

Presented in an adaptation by Michael Meyer.

The cast featured Jane Lapotaire as 'Mrs Alving', Simon Russell Beale as 'Oswald Alving', John Carlisle as 'Pastor Manders', John Normington as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Alexandra Gilbreath as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Katie Mitchell, with choreography by Paul Allain, designs by Vicki Mortimer, lighting by Tina MacHugh, and sound by Andrea J Cox.

Presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company.


2001 West End Revival with Francesca Annis and Anthony Andrews

Previewed 28 March 2001, Opened 2 April 2001, Closed 14 July 2001 at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre)

A major revival of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts in London starring Francesca Annis and Anthony Andrews

Presented in an adaptation by Richard Harris, from a literal translation by J Basil Cowlishaw.

The cast featured Francesca Annis as 'Mrs Helene Alving', Martin Hutson as 'Oswald Alving', Anthony Andrews as 'Pastor Manders', Robin Soans as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Sarah Tansey as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Robin Phillips, with designs by Paul Farnsworth, and lighting by John B Read.

Francesca Annis' London theatre credits include the roles of 'Mrs Erlynne' in Philip Prowse's revival of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan at the Albery Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre) in 1994; 'Rebekka West' in Annie Castledine's revival of Henrik Ibsen's Rosmersholm at the Young Vic Theatre in 1992; 'Masha' in Elijah Moshinsky's revival of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters at the Albery Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre) in 1987; 'Juliet' in Trevor Nunn's revival of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Aldwych Theatre in 1977.

"[Francesca Annis] returns now in Robin Phillips's powerful, if patchy, production of Ghosts... Ms Annis offers a moving, subtle portrait of a troubled, unhappy woman who has learnt to survive by burying her desires. You sometimes see flickering through her the ghost of the ardent girl who once had the guts to walk out on her marriage - a girl with whom she vainly aches to renew contact now... It's a pity that Anthony Andrews, as Manders, is more doleful Church of England vicar than forbiddingly righteous Norwegian pastor... Another slight disappointment is Martin Hutson, a talented young actor who, as Oswald, goes, in the main, for the beautifully overwrought floppy-haired-aesthete approach... Robin Soans is hilarious as the creepily sanctimonious, blackmailing carpenter who specialises in helping out sinners for a handsome fee." The Independent

"Seldom raising her voice, Francesca Annis radiates frustration, rage burning like dry ice, or desperate flickers of hope. You almost hear her nerves screaming. All done with nuances of tone, intelligent timing or the mere flick of a hand. Anthony Andrews is a four-square Pastor Manders, inflexible hypocricy personified. Martin Hutson brings out the dying son's pathos without milking it. But Ms Annis is the glory of director Robin Phillips's strong if uneven staging. There's no doubting that strength, complemented by Richard Harris's down-to-earth adapation. Unevenness comes from players' contrasting styles. All are effective; the trouble is that they could have stepped out of different productions of the play, some naturalistic, others less so... If you want to be moved and angered, rather than paying polite attention to a courageous classic, then this is the version to see." The Daily Mail

"While you could take Ibsen out of Norway, you couldn't take Norway out of Ibsen. He wrote play after play about the plight of a people ground down by a dark, cold climate and a darker and even colder religious puritanism... This grim stuff caused outrage in Victorian London, which was unamused to hear about syphilis on stage. In Norway, however, it was received ecstatically... And that's the problem. Ibsen spoke volumes to 19th-century Norwegians, but in modern Britain - even in a cold snap - it is very hard to find inspiration in the chilly gloom. Francesca Annis is a masterpiece of embittered control as Mrs Alving in Robin Phillips' taut production, even if Anthony Andrews as Pastor Manders confuses button-up repression with wooden acting. But the tragedy piling on top of tragedy is too much to take." The Daily Express

Ghosts in London at the Comedy Theatre previewed from 28 March 2001, opened on 2 April 2001, and closed on 14 July 2001


2002 London Revival with Diana Quick and Daniel Evans

Opened 9 April 2002, Closed 13 April 2002 at the Greenwich Theatre

Presented in an adapation by Stephen Mulrine.

The cast featured Diana Quick as 'Mrs Helene Alving', Daniel Evans as 'Osvald Alving', William Chubb as 'Pastor Manders', Michael Cronin as 'Jakob Engstrand', and Jody Watson as 'Regine Engstrand'.

Directed by Stephen Unwin, with designs by Neil Warmington, lighting by Ben Ormerod, sound by Tom Lishman, and music by Corin Buckeridge.

Presented by English Touring Theatre.


2003 London Revival with Pernilla August

Opened 1 May 2003, Closed 4 May 2003 at the Barbican Theatre

Presented in a version by Ingmar Bergman.

The cast featured Pernilla August as 'Mrs Helene Alving', Jonas Malmsjo as 'Osvald Alving', Jan Malmsjo as 'Pastor Manders', Orjan Ramberg as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Angela Kovacs as 'Regine Engstrand'.

Directed by Ingmar Bergman, with sets by Goran Wassberg, costumes by Anna Bergman, lighting by Pierre Leveau, music by Avro Part, and sound by Jan Eric Piper.

Presented by the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden, in association with Thelma Holt, as part of BITE:03 (Barbican International Theatre Event).


2010 West End Revival with Lesley Sharp and Iain Glen

Previewed 11 February 2010, Opened 23 February 2010, Closed 27 March 2010 at the Duchess Theatre

A major revival of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts in London starring Lesley Sharp and Iain Glen

Presented in an adaptation by Frank McGuinness.

The cast featured Lesley Sharp as 'Mrs Helene Alving', Harry Treadaway as 'Oswald Alving', Iain Glen as 'Pastor Manders', Malcolm Storry as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Jessica Raine as 'Regine Engstrand'.

Directed by Iain Glen, with designs by Stephen Brimson Lewis, lighting by Oliver Fenwick, and sound by Richard Hammarton.

This production was originally scheduled to play up to 15 May 2010, but closed early.

Lesley Sharp's London theatre credits include the roles of 'Mari Hoff' in Terry Johnson's revival of Jim Cartwright's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2009; 'Kattrin' in Jonathan Kent's revival of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1995; 'Sonya' in Sean Mathias' revival of Anton Chekov's Uncle Vanya at the National Theatre's Cottesloe Theatre in 1992; 'Dull Gret'/'Angie' in Max Stafford-Clark's revival of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls at the Royal Court Theatre in 1991; and 'The Stepdaughter' in Michael Rudman's revival of Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre in 1987.

"Ghosts remains a fiercely humane play. Yet Iain Glen's revival feels full of wrong notes. Glen himself plays Pastor Manders, a fire-and-brimstone preacher whose overt displays of Christian moralising ooze hollow sanctimony, yet his accent is all over the place and his performance flush with melodrama. Lesley Sharp refuses to play Mrs Alving as a victim of her dead husband's lethal philandering but her self-containment frustratingly keeps this tormented woman at arm's length; rarely do you feel the depths of her burden of guilt, shame and unhappiness. Harry Treadaway imbues the syphilitic Oswald with a boyish innocence that is all the more plangent given his toxic inheritance... Frank McGuinness's translation is robust but heavy-handed and, while there's good support from Jessica Raine's spirited Regine, this neither moves nor haunts." The London Metro

"Frank McGuinness's adaptation consists of a series of painfully long scenes. Iain Glen's Pastor Manders drones on for the first half hour with Mrs Alving - a not sufficiently grand or elderly Lesley Sharp - to the extent that one wondered why on earth she would give him house room. This is a pity, because what they talk about ought to involve us in the tragedy that is about to unfold under her roof. Mrs Alving's son Osvald - Harry Treadaway - is back from Paris and suffering from syphilis. It doesn't help that Treadaway looks a picture of health... The lad becomes infatuated with the family maid, Regine, but things aren't helped by the fact that she is his secret half-sister, discreetly employed downstairs to avoid a scandal when old Capt Alving had a child on the wrong side of the blanket. It all ends badly, but also, I am sorry to say, uninvolvingly. All in all, it just wasn't grim enough." The Sunday Telegraph

"These days, Ghosts is a pale image of the shocker it once was. If it has anything to say to today's audience it's that secrets, lies, guilt and the burden of concealment can be terminally destructive... Frank McGuinness's rather overstated new adaptation makes heavy weather of the play's symbolism... Still, Lesley Sharp is on top form as Mrs Alving, one of those women who has sacrificed everything and is left with nothing. Iain Glen plays Pastor Manders as a vile, sanctimonious and hypocritical Scots Calvinist who makes one's skin crawl but wholly fails to explain why Mrs Alving might have once fallen in love with him. Without that to create some tension, the play falls apart." The Mail on Sunday

Ghosts in London at the Duchess Theatre previewed from 11 February 2010, opened on 23 February 2010, and closed on 27 March 2010


2013 West End Revival with Lesley Manville

Previewed 26 September 2013, Opened 3 October 2013, Closed 23 November 2013 at the Almeida Theatre
Transferred 17 December 2013, Closed 22 March 2014 at the Trafalgar Studio 1 (now Trafalgar Theatre)

A major revival of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts in London starring Lesley Manville and Adam Kotz

Mrs Alving is making preparations for the opening of an orphanage - a memorial to her late husband. Her son Oswald, an artist, returns home for the celebrations. A saga of love, betrayal and hypocrisy gradually unfolds as ghosts from the past come back to haunt the living making sure the sins of the fathers are never forgiven in Ibsen's unforgettable social drama.

Presented in an adaptation by Richard Eyre, from a literal translation by Charlotte Barslund.

The cast at London's Almeida Theatre and the West End's Tragalgar Studios featured Lesley Manville as 'Helene Alving', Jack Lowden as 'Oswald Alving', Will Keen as 'Pastor Manders' (at the Almeida Theatre), Adam Kotz as 'Pastor Manders' (at the Trafalgar Studios), Brian McCardie as 'Jacob Engstrand', and Charlene McKenna as 'Regina Engstrand'.

Directed by Richard Eyre, with designs by Tim Hatley, lighting by Peter Mumford, and sound by John Leonard.

This production, featuring the Almeida Theatre cast with Will Keen as 'Pastor Manders', was especially adapted for radio, and was first broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in the Drama on 3 series on Sunday 15 December 2013.

Lesley Manville's West End theatre credits include the role of 'Helene Alving' in Richard Eyre's revival of Henrik Ibsen's play Ghosts at the Trafalgar Studios in 2013; 'Flan Kittredge' in David Grindley's revival of John Guare's play Six Degrees of Separation at the Old Vic Theatre in 2010; 'Manuela' in Tom Cairns' production of Samuel Adamson's play All About My Mother, based on the film by Pedro Almodovar, at the Old Vic Theatre in 2007; 'Lindsay' in David Grindley's production of Neil LaBute's comedy Some Girls at the Gielgud Theatre in 2005; 'Marlene' in Max Stafford-Clark's revival of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls at the Royal Court Theatre in 1991; the title role in Tom Cairns' revival of August Stringberg's Miss Julie at the Greenwich Theatre in 1990; 'Cecile de Volanges' in Howard Davies's production of Christopher Hampton's stage adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Barbican Pit Theatre in 1986; and 'Patient Griselda'/'Nell'/'Jeanine' in Max Stafford-Clark's production of Caryl Churchill's Top Girls at the Royal Court Theatre in 1982 and 1983.

When this production was originally seen at London's Almeida Theatre in October 2013, prior to transferring to the Trafalgar Studios, Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard said that, "from the start of its hurtling, interval-free 90 minutes, Richard Eyre's staging is compellingly vibrant, with an assured sense of itself. His translation is direct and robust, pushing Ibsen's nuances to their limit." Michael Billington in the Guardian highlighted that "the most radical feature of Richard Eyre's first-rate revival of Ghosts is its speed. Shorn of intervals, Ibsen's 1881 play races along and is over in 90 minutes... Eyre's production grabs you by the throat and never releases its grip." Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph praised how "Richard Eyre's superb staging, in his own fleet and vivid adaptation, held me in its grip throughout... Lesley Manville presents the mother with an extraordinary sense of accumulated tension, capturing a woman who is haunted by bitter memories of the past and fearful of dreadful developments still to come." Libby Purves in the Times explained how "in the 1890s, outrage met Ibsen's most scandalous play... It is, however, a masterpiece of compassion, and Richard Eyre's new stripped-down 90-minute version has glories too many to list... Eyre's taut direction ensures that we stay focused." Paul Taylor in the Independent described how, "using his own sharp, swift-footed adaptation, Richard Eyre's spell-binding production builds to its shattering climax in an unbroken 90-minute arc... The superb Lesley Manville is a subtle and searching Mrs Alving." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times hailed this "glittering, dark production from Richard Eyre that plays Ibsen's drama brilliantly as a blistering endgame, the darkest hour before the dawn... In Lesley Manville's superb performance she acquires a kind of reckless, exhilarated despair, tearing into institution after institution as she plunges on towards the play's desolate ending in a committed act of purification."

Ghosts in London at the Trafalgar Studios opened on 17 December 2013 and closed on 22 March 2014