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. In Ghosts, a mother must face the truth about her husband’s past and come to terms with her son’s future…
But would you go to the cinema to see a play? This question came up recently at a Q&A session at The Old Vic and the general consensus was that if it’s done well, it’s actually a good idea.
So although I think Digital Theatre have come up with a novel way of bringing theatre to the masses and encouraging people to see more shows, I was still unsure.
I needn’t have worried; it completely blew me away.
In fact at times I was blissfully unaware that I was watching a film, as the cinematography really was excellent and the new Dolby Atmos sound technology made it very easy to hear everything, except the odd line when one of the characters was in the dining room.
I’ll be honest – I rarely go to the cinema, but seeing such a fabulous play immortalised on the big (well, massive) screen, convinced me that an audience watching Ghosts would want to go and see the play for real.
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 and his fit is much more distressing on screen than on stage because you can see his body and face so clearly and 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.
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Ghosts is in cinemas for one night only – Thursday 26th June (cinemalive.com for details).