Ghosts

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

> Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

In David Lambert's production of Ghosts, Mrs Alving is the focus. It's her suffering as a wronged wife, a woman forced to put up with her husband's wicked ways, a mother who must watch her son die of inherited venereal disease which takes centre stage.

Mandy Kiley in this pivotal role has a calm, stately air, and naturalness which fits Ibsen's style, although she is perhaps a little too staid: it's hard to believe that she falls in so readily with her son's bohemian views - that she, too, is a free thinker.

And, as the programme points out, this is key to Ibsen's intention. He was keen to expose women's oppression and their need to break free. He saw Ghosts as a natural partner to A Doll's House: that ground-breaking play of female emancipation.

Despite this, the show is absorbing and Paul Stimson's design - expressionist and symbolic wooden staging curving up the back wall like the prow of a ship and coming to a point under a grotesquely distorted doll's house - is inspiring to look at.

But what stole the evening for me was the performance of Engstrand by natural clown Chris Neville, complete with Norfolk accent.

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