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Ibsen haunts London.

Ibsen, meanwhile, is also back in the West End courtesy of another actor-turned-director. However, in addition to staging the great sins-of-the-father drama, "Ghosts," Iain Glen is also playing Pastor Manders, one of the leading roles.

Glen, alas, turns the Pastor into a totally self-satisfied, narrow-minded zealot, an exaggerated choice that leaves nothing to the imagination and destroys the tension between the characters that makes the play so potentially engrossing. He also encourages equally extreme, overly signposted performances from the rest of his cast. The unengaging result topples from tragedy into melodrama.

That criticism cannot be hurled at the Almeida Theater's new "Measure for Measure." Michael Attenborough's thoughtful if unsexy production boasts a chilly Ben Miles as the willful Duke, a dynamic performance a million miles from his sweetly feckless vet in "The Norman Conquests."

Miles is so powerful he almost dwarfs the plangent Anna Maxwell Martin as Isabella and Rory Kinnear as Angelo. The fevered, buttoned-down intensity of Kinnear's playing is an exciting foretaste of his Hamlet for director Nicholas Hytner in the fall.

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Title Annotation:LEGIT; Ghosts
Author:Benedict, David
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 8, 2010
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