Theatre Royal Bath – until 31 October 2020
The things I do for the actresses I love. Despite the Herculean efforts of the Pinter at the Pinter festival, I still can’t say I am Harold’s biggest fan. But the announcement of Nancy Carroll in a play, alongside Ed Bennett and Joseph Millson, in these theatre-starved times was one I found hard to resist.
So I made the trip into the safe havens of Tier 1 from Tier 2 to see Jonathan Church’s production of Betrayal at the Theatre Royal Bath. And once again, I kinda thought ‘huh, this is a modern classic?’. With the memories of Jamie Lloyd’s fresher take still bold too, the choice to keep it firmly in the 70s didn’t click for me.
An hour plus of a straight white man justifying his affair may suit some people but for me, it sticks in the craw a little. Here though, Church and Carroll do seem to have worked hard to create a world in which her Emma gains more agency in the affair she conducts with her husband’s best friend Jerry, in the play itself for once.
And as the play coils backwards over the decade of infidelity, the layers of deceptions and lies are well played by the trio, it’s just that I always find it a little hard to really care for these characters or invest in the passions they chase. Joshua Carr’s lighting does great work on Alex Eales’ revolving set though.