Off-beat. Dissonant. Silences in staccato. The Ghost Sonata at the Rose Playhouse, Bankside is a production that certainly captures the aura of odd, disquieting mystery that pervades the 1907 work of August Strindberg. Under director Charlotte Ive, the piece takes shape as a secretive, slightly unsettling re-imagining of what is known as Strindberg’s modernist classic. It follows an ambitious young student upon meeting a secretive old man, as ghosts haunt his past and the web of secrets ensnaring the ensemble of characters is slowly unravelled.

In the atmospheric insides of the Rose Playhouse, the history of the archaeological site seeps out of its shadowed stone walls, unconsciously serving as an amplifier to the unsettling energy of the piece Ive is cultivating. However, something about the piece stops short on the stage in the mere metres in front of you. Strindberg’s script twists and turns with convoluted secrets and mysterious, shrouded backstories, and it is down to the actors to reveal them carefully with the script. More than a lack of effort or talent, the production seems to suffer from a lack of cast members. In a running time of just 70 minutes and a story that relies so heavily on mystery and character interactions, the execution of the script doesn’t quite create the effect it should with each actor playing at least two parts.

That being said, with its cast of four (Sophie Lakely, Olivia Meguer, Foss Shepherd and Charley Willow) the Rose Playhouse’s production does well to illustrate the eerily cyclic nature of the script. Notably in scenes where a more inventive approach is taken, where odd lines are chanted or repeated, or the passage of time is marked by a chime that is thrown about the cavernous insides of the theatre, the audience get a sense of the unsettling mystery that runs through each of the characters’ lives.

Ive, responsible also for the adaptation and the design of the production, decorates the stage with a few scattered pieces of timely furniture. A string of white flowers is draped across the ceiling. It is aesthetic and simple, yet it is aurally that the piece best tells the story. The structure of the piece is such that it seems to turn back and underline itself every now and then. You can hear the echoes of Strindberg’s messages as the cast repeats another’s refrain, or when the secretive expanses of the archaeological site bounce back echoes and add whispers of its own. An odd, unsettling mystery is at the heart of this production of The Ghost Sonata, but it is not quite coherent enough to effectively tell its story.

The Ghost Sonata is playing at the Rose Playhouse, Bankside until 28 August. For more information and tickets, see the Rose Playhouse website.