30 December 2013

Forgiving Ibsen's Ghosts

In addition to going to the theatre regularly I also listen to the BBC Radio Drama of the Week podcast which picks just one play each week from the many broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4.

As luck would have it, a recent choice was Ibsen's Ghosts in a production taken directly from the West End. I had not enjoyed a recent staging of the play but was prepared to give the radio version a chance, and I am glad that I did.

One of the features of Ghosts is that there is next to no physical action, apart from a few exits and entrances, so it is an obvious choice for the radio. In fact I think that it worked better as a radio play and hearing it through earphones made it even more intense.

I do not know whether it was a second watching/listening of the play, this adaptation or because it was on the radio rather than the stage but I picked up a lot more of the fine details of the story this time and that certainly helped me to appreciate it.

And because this was radio there was no interval. The stage version that I saw had an interval and I though that it broke the flow of the play but the stage version that this radio play was based on does not have an interval.

I would still not go as far as to say that Ibsen's Ghosts is a classic, or even that it is a favourite of mine, but this radio version did a lot to improve its reputation in my eyes and I might even go and see it on stage again.

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