Play of the week: Ghosts, Almeida Theatre, London N1


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The Independent Culture

The ghosts in Ibsen's great play are those patterns of behaviour that we inherit and find it almost impossible to escape.

When Helene Alving summons the courage to cut through the accumulation of lies by revealing that her husband was a scoundrel, the tragedy is that she does so too late, as her son is being destroyed by the patrimony of syphilis.

Sharp and swift-footed, Richard Eyre's spell-binding production builds to its shattering climax in an unbroken arc.

The play's daring and dark humour are conveyed with immediacy, and the performances are extraordinarily intense, especially Lesley Manville as a subtle, searching Mrs Alving.

020 7359 4404; to 23 November