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Ghosts review

A truly mesmersing performance and production by all involved.


Ghosts is the third title in the West End Theatre Series, capturing live High Definition Digital Theatre. It is the first ever captured live production to feature powerful sound technology Dolby Atmos in numerous cinemas. If you are not yet familiar with Dolby Atmos, we can explain it to you, a little, but you really must experience it to fully appreciate the quality of sound. Dolby Atmos makes it easy for filmmakers to place or move specific sounds anywhere in the movie theatre, including overhead to one side of the theatre, or make things ‘jump out’ of the screen, as it were.

As a result of this multi-dimensional sound, audiences feel as if they are there in the flesh, as opposed to actually watching a story on the screen. Introduced in 2012, Dolby Atmos has been embraced by all the major Hollywood studios. Richard Eyer’s five-star, multi award-winning revival production of Ghosts is a truly class act and the zoomed in cameras in high definition at certain crucial parts of the play, make for a gripping and highly intense experience.


Jack Lowden (Oswald) and Lesley Manville (Helene) in Ghosts at Trafalgar Studios. Credit: Hugo Glendinning

The story tells the tale of Helene Alving, who has lived in an emotional, sad, and soulless existence, trying to find life and patching up the holes in her life, after the death of her cruel, drunk, emotional bully of a husband, although the outside world would never have known that she was living a desperate sham. Helene desperately wants to escape the ghosts of her past that haunt her, by telling her son, Oswald, the truth about his father. Unfortuately, upon his return from his life as a painter in France, Oswald reveals an enormous amount of inner turmoil and outwardly pain himself, living a difficult life, crippled with despair.

The play tugs on your heart strings, gives them a good tight twist and pulls it even tighter as the play goes along and even long after the performance is over. There are a few twists in the plot that further tug on your heart. The play is brought to life by the flawless performances by the cast.


Adam Kotz (Manders) and Lesley Manville (Helene) in Ghosts at Trafalgar Studios. Credit: Hugo Glendinning.

You feel everything given by Helene and you feel that you need to her help her out of her situation.  Jack Lowden as Oswald Alving gives a truly outstanding performance. You don’t feel as if you are watching an actor, you feel as if Jack Lowden IS Oswald Alving and that every grain of turmoil and sadness is absolutely real.  Helene tries to do the best for her son, what is right for herself as a mother, but also to do what’s best for her him, to try and free him from his inner turmoil. At times, you want to look away, but can’t. Your head moves to the side to try to look away, yet you will find that your eyes remain fixed and you can’t fully manage to peel them away.

Ghosts is a truly gripping piece of theatre that we heartily recommend you to see.  Of course, you can never fully recreate watching a live theatre show in person, with real humans and the raw energy, but this is as close and as good as its every going to get, in watching a truly special cinematic version.

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Ghosts is in selected UK and Irish cinemas for one night only – Thursday 26th June.  See for more details.


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