CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Ghosts at The Rose Theatre, Kingston – review

PUBLISHED: 12:46 27 September 2013 | UPDATED: 12:46 27 September 2013

Mark Quartley and Kelly Hunter in Ghosts

Mark Quartley and Kelly Hunter in Ghosts

Simon Annand

Duty, guilt and the parent-child relationship all come under the spotlight at the Rose Theatre this autumn, thanks to the English Touring Theatre’s powerful production of Ibsen’s Ghosts, translated and directed by Stephen Unwin, who marks his final season as the Rose’s Artistic Director this year.

Ghosts isn’t the easiest of plays to watch, delving as it does into some of humanity’s deepest, darkest emotional corners. A devoted mother, driven by her love for her son to conceal his father’s significant faults and failings from him is at first overjoyed by her son’s return home from living as a painter in Paris, then aghast and guilt-ridden as the true reasons for his prodigal return are revealed. Kelly Hunter tears at the heartstrings as Mrs Alving, whose sense of duty to her ‘debauched’ husband gives way ten years after his death to a compulsion to tell the truth about him, whatever the personal cost.

Hunter’s dramatic portrayal is aided and abetted by Mark Quarterly, who, as her troubled, syphilitic son, Osvald, erupts in nervous energy every time he paces the stage, unable to sit still or slow down at all until the shocking end when he is claimed by his devastating illness.

Such unfettered emotions between mother and son are tempered only by the calmer demeanour of the duty-bound Pastor Manders (Patrick Drury), whose strangely uneasy mix of hypocrisy and naïveté reveals his innate weakness. Adding comic relief is Pip Donaghy’s scheming carpenter, Jacob Engstrand, whose determination to open a hostel for sailors needs two things: the pastor’s approval and his pretty daughter’s welcoming arms to greet his future guests.

The young lady in question, Regina (Florence Hall), has no intention of leaving what she perceives to be a pretty plum position in Mrs Alving’s service, until the play’s shocking events cause her to rethink her high aspirations and throw in her lot with the wily old man.

The entire play takes place in one room: an elegant, understated drawing room that seems totally at odds with the wild, unstoppable drama unfolding within it. Designer Simon Higlett took inspiration from original sketches by Edvard Munch and emphasises the gloom and isolation of the remote location with a wide backdrop, obscured by driving rain for most of the play, but clearing into a beautiful sunrise as the story reaches its climax.

Ghosts is not for the faint-hearted, but it certainly offers much food for thought, and this fine retelling of Ibsen’s once reviled play loses nothing in Unwin’s attempts to bring the dialogue up to date. The play is boldly directed, beautifully designed and superbly acted, creating the perfect swansong for Unwin as he bids goodbye to the Rose Theatre and moves on to the next stage of his directing career.

Ghosts runs at the Rose Theatre, Kingston until 12 October and then tours nationally. Tickets can be booked online at www.rosetheatrekingston.org.

More from Surrey Life

Friday, October 19, 2018

We round up 10 of the most beautiful photos of Surrey shared on Instagram this week…

Read more
Thursday, October 18, 2018

This edition of Surrey Life features all the local ingredients to make this month special

Read more
Thursday, October 18, 2018

To mark the appointment of Peter Estlin, a former head boy at King Edward’s Witley, as new Lord Mayor of the City of London, Surrey Life has joined forces with the 400-pupil school to give away two tickets to the Lord Mayor’s Show on 10 November plus an overnight stay in London

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

With The Great British Bake Off back on our screens the nation is falling in love with baking once again. Head pastry chef at Pennyhill Park, Sarah Frankland, tells us about what it takes to make it as a professional

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wrap up in your favourite coat and scarf, grab your sparklers and a warming drink, and enjoy one of these fantastic firework displays taking place in Surrey for bonfire night

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Home to outstanding architecture, ambitious community projects and arts ventures that are putting these villages firmly on the map, East and West Horsley are among our county’s most desirable addresses

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Chertsey’s best-kept secret, the Great Cockcrow Railway, steamed into a half-century this year

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A taste of Korea has swept into the beautiful market town of Godalming as Bada sets out its stall with a tapas-style fusion of seafood, traditional dishes and spice

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

With friendship as the central theme in Adele Parks’ new book, Zoe Richards met up with the bestselling author and her publisher, Kate Mills, to find out how these two Surrey dwellers have discovered a successful working relationship, and become firm friends too

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend: art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Monday, October 15, 2018

As the twilight falls, the magic begins… There’s something for everyone at Christmas at Kew – and we’re giving you the chance to win one of five family tickets for two adults and two children to the Preview Night of Christmas at Kew on Wednesday 21 November 2018

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Good table manners have long been a source of national pride but in this modern age of social media are our longstanding traditions being left behind? Rebecca Younger visits the stately Beaverbrook estate for a lesson in British etiquette

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The spookiest time of the year is fast approaching! We pick some of the best events to celebrate Halloween in Surrey

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search