Last year, Irish actor Niall Buggy jumped at the chance to star in Edna O’Brien’s Haunted alongside Brenda Blethyn in a production that received rave reviews upon its opening at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.

This new play, which runs at Richmond Theatre from Monday, tells the story of Shakespeare-loving Mr Berry (played by Buggy), who becomes captivated by a young lady called Hazel, who calls in at his Blackheath home.

Mr Berry encourages her to return and the suspicions of his wife, played by Blethyn, are soon aroused.

As the story unfolds, and taking the title as a big hint, it soon becomes clear that everything is not as it seems.

Buggy explains: “Mr Berry falls for a younger woman but, at the same time, he still loves his wife – it’s an unusual theme in one sense because I don’t think it is explored very often in the theatre, how we can all fall in love in different ways.

“One can be haunted by grief and there is regret and sadness in it, but it is actually a very funny play and working with Brenda is a joy.”

The actor is delighted to star in a play by O’Brien, one of Irelands’s most distinguished writers, who has authored more than 25 plays, novels, biogrpahies and short story collections.

“Edna has been in rehearsals from the very beginning, caring for us and the play,” Buggy adds.

“I love working with playwrights and if you can capture the rhythm of their writing then you really get to the truth of the piece.”

As well as working with greats Brian Friel, Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard, Buggy has appeared in countless productions of classic plays such as Uncle Vanya, The Three Penny Opera and Hamlet, at a range of venues, including the National Theatre, Dublin’s Abbey Theatre and The Crucible in Sheffield, but he still relishes the challenge a piece of new writing brings.

“You are always learning as an actor and, with a new play, you just never know how people will react to it,” he says.

“When we first performed this one in Manchester there was a strong reaction from people who I’d imagine have been married and been through not dissimilar situation in regards to their emotions and feelings.

“It will haunt people for a long time.”

Haunted, Richmond Theatre, March 8-13, for more information visit