Are Modern Ibsen piled on the horrors in Ghosts (Vaudeville) in a way quite unforgivable to the dramatechnician, but, like William Shakespeare, whose play, Hamlet, no doubt is still remembered in some quarters, he made a play which carries its gruesome burden with grace.
The " sins of the father " visited upon. the son, Oswald Alving (Clifford Evans) in a way perhaps a bit too thick—that is, the play would have been as good with less— and it was a little vindictive of Ibsen to let the final curtain fall to insane screams. But then that was his way, and they liked him that way.
Marie Ney comes out of the emotional turmoil a still dignified lady whose hidden resources of strength have been hard tried; but Oswald is too much of a nice young man (—" such a pity, you know, he .. Stephen Murray makes the Pastor a tedious deluded Parson; Regina (Sylvia Coleridge) is a hoyden, hearty (why so haven't the "sins " been visited on her) but what a horror, a Heep, is that lewd and cunning Cockney, that lickspittle Engstrand (Frederick Bennett).
This is a new translation and Mr. Norman Ginsbury has revivified the play with taste and skill. Without losing much of
the last century Sweden air he has made it very actual: these Ghosts are modern. And
the problems haven't changed much; the facts could be today's. What change there has been has had a concomitant reaction.
I don't know why the producers didn't go the whole hog and bring the whole play up-to-date. Or perhaps that wouldn't have
been Ibsen. J. G.
Housc Of Assignation
It seems that Mr. Ashley Dukes in writ
ing an overboiling and frothy little play, House of Assignation, has disappointed everyone who visits the Mercury because no Deeper Significance emerges. In the Mercury Theatre the audience has got into the habit of looking for Deeper Significances, and it hates to be cheated of them. Satisfaction, therefore, is not made by the play's stage virtuosity; there is a craving left for ideas which have flown away from Notting Hill Gate on a loose wind.
La Seraphina (Alexis France) is a lovely Spanish lady whose trade is to be a marriage broker, and whose house is politely called " of assignation." It is her plot— and her fate--to arrange a marriage between the man she loves (Derek Williams) and his petulant beloved (Ruth Haven). But everything eventually goes well (as scheduled) for La Scraphina, because the lovers, with incredible speed, fall in and out of quarrels, and finally split. Here La Seraphina steps in, and the prize is hers.
Perhaps they do these things better in Spain, but these old Spanish customs of quick quarrels and violent changes of affection seem a little breathless in slow old England.
Period (19th century) Spain is not unlike period (Barrie) England in its florescence phrase, and the costumes—after Goya—are full of colour and the correct picturesque.