Richard Eyre’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts was extremely well-received, selling out at the Almeida, transferring to Trafalgar Studios and winning three Oliviers.
Digital Theatre recently brought the filmed version of the show to cinemas, coming up with a novel way of bringing theatre to the masses and encouraging people to see more shows. Such was the success that you now don’t even need to leave the house to watch this fabulous play (and many other filmed productions) as you can download it directly from Digitaltheatre.com.
The filmed version is so well shot that at times I was blissfully unaware that I was watching a film, as the cinematography really was excellent.
The close ups of each character force the audience to focus only on that person, their facial expressions and emotions. This not only intensified the performance, but emphasised what a talented group of actors this five-person cast is.
Lesley Manville (Helene) is just fabulous and watching her act in such close proximity was unforgettable. The tears and words flowed so naturally and I’m not sure I’ve ever been so convinced by an actor’s performance.
Jack Lowden (Oswald) conveys cad, drunk and invalid with real strength and his fit is much more distressing on screen than on stage because you can see his body and face so clearly; this final scene between him and his mother is heartfelt and emotional.
I didn’t think that Eyre’s adaptation of Ghosts could get any better, but the intensity of the on screen close ups gave me goosebumps and left me quite stunned.
Having experienced the intense proximity of Ghosts on screen, I wished I’d been able to see it on stage to see it from a different perspective. This made me consider the question of whether releasing filmed productions would discourage more people from visiting the theatre.
Personally, I think the answer is no, it wouldn’t. In fact if anything, it’s quite the opposite.
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Ghosts is available to download now here