Iain Glen directs and also stars in Frank McGuinness’s version of Ibsen’s once-scandalous 1881 drama of hypocrisy, syphilis and closely guarded secrets.

He plays the self-righteous Pastor Manders, to whom Lesley Sharp’s widowed Mrs Alving once turned, in vain, for help in the early years of a disastrous marriage to the incorrigible philanderer who left her financially rich but emotionally desolate.

The return of her diseased artist son Oswald (sent away in childhood to shield him from his father’s dissolute influence) and his interest in her servant girl finally prise skeletons from cupboards.

Surprisingly topical in parts, this tragedy no longer shocks – but, in Glen’s sometimes astute but more often heavy-handed production, it also fails to move.



» Duchess, Catherine St, WC2B 5LA  Charing Cross (0844 412 4659; nimaxtheatres.com). Until May 15. £20-£46