Nov 30th, 2018
Whilst Betrayal's subject matter might not hew close to any of the recent delights offered up by the Pinter at the Pinter season and director Jamie Lloyd, it is a smashing piece of theatre, excellently acted and devastatingly real.
Charting, in reverse, the course of a love affair between Emma and Gerry, two well-heeled adulterers, and the effect it has on those around them (namely Emma's husband Robert), Pinter excellently captures the overwhelming ache of love, and the bitter taste we ignore in the pursuit, until it's too late.
On a stark yet smartly functional set, Emma (Zawe Ashton) and Gerry (Charlie Cox) go through the motions, from the polite meeting after the fact, to the first flush of lust, whilst Robert (Tom Hiddleston) stands in the background, observing. From the off, it feels like a normal Pinter, and you're wondering who's going to get killed - but then something happens. The menace so often found in his plays evolves, and instead of death, it becomes an unflinching and often heartbreaking commentary on life. Ashton is a marvel as Emma, precocious and yet secretly strong, and Cox proves his chops as the charming, sometimes hateful, Gerry, but the night goes to Hiddleston and his ability to navigate the choppy waters of betrayal with startling duality. After seeing this, I'd watch him read out the Shipping Forecast (though perhaps not at the price these seats are going for).
So, all in all, Betrayal is a stunning night at the theatre, that entertainingly and uncomfortably serves up some home truths. It might not have the after effect you're hoping for, but it's a fine example of British talent, old and new.
View our show pages for more information about Betrayal, Harold Pinter Theatre.
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