Harold Pinter's play which explores infidelity and the effects that a
long- term love affair has on each member of the triangle is revived here by
Emma (Samantha Janus) is married to Robert (David
Michaels). The two enjoy holidays together and have a good friendship. But
Emma leads a double life and is having an affair with Jerry (Antony Byrne) -
Robert's best friend.
Beginning at the end of the affair, each scene takes the audience back in
time ending with the moment that the affair began. This narrative device
should work well but the audience is left shifting around in their seats as
John Gunter's set is re-jigged and the lighting fades each time a
character says the pivotal piece of dialogue that signals the past.
Another major problem is that Pinter's writing is not timeless. Many of
the views expressed belong to the 1970's. But the production is set in the
present day. So when Jerry refers to a flat that he rents for him and Emma,
the audience cannot connect with a middle class love shack - it seems
somewhat dated in world where people just "get a room."
The performances are all fine. Janus does very well as the centre of the
love triangle and you can understand why these two men are so torn by her.
Byrne is adequate as her lover although he fails to convince you that he
is actually living life on the edge under his best friend's nose. Michaels
does better as the old fashioned man's man who adores both his pal and his
wife. He really brings Pinter's words to life and instead of sounding
chauvinistic - he provides his character with a sense of longing.
Sharrock's direction means that time almost stands still even though it is
suppose to unfold in a non linear fashion. Often cast members pause
awkwardly to trigger the passing of time. The audience on the night I
attended saw this as an opportunity to go to the toilet or failing that -
leave the theatre. The constant set changing and imposing music take away
much of the emotion from Pinter's intense writing.
Gunter's set consisting of street signs, old furniture, a bed and a child's bike add a smidgen of poignancy to the proceedings but like much of this
production lack the depth required to stay in your memory once the curtain
has gone down.
- Glenn Meads (reviewed at the Palace Theatre, Manchester)