Chiswick Playhouse, London – until 29 February 2020
What is it? Tryst by Karoline Leach, the final piece to be performed in the inaugural festival from the Chiswick Playhouse productions at the Tabard Theatre, returning from a sell-out run in 2017. What is it about? A true story in Victorian England about the man George Love, or George Joseph Smith as it became known, who lulls innocent young women into his grasp just long enough for them to marry (and of course consummate that marriage), give all their trust and their bank book over for him to run away with it, never to be seen of again.
This is the story of the naïve hat maker with dreams and an inherited broach, and a slimy man whose life is full of deceit. Firstly is a about the manipulation this man manages to have on yet another young woman, however this particular meeting between Adelaide and George is more than a story of deceit; it’s a thriller that leads down a path of inner demons, baring scars and thus a human connection through pain. The characters are fairly upbeat with his blatant vulgarity in the beginning, but as the story progresses the atmosphere turns into something quite sinister.
How did it make me feel? I am struck by how completely modern this play is. The inner turmoil of these characters could be plucked from any modern friendship circle. And the apparent villain of the story suddenly shows such grand empathy; care for a woman in pain and revealing his own. It’s quite extraordinary to see amongst the confines of a Victorian setting and I was certainly moved by the relationship that developed.
The two actors, Scarlett Brookes and Fred Perry, carry this two-hander with great ease and delicacy while grappling with it’s monstrous themes. There are only a couple of moments that the ball seems to be drop, this does not deter one from the action. They seem caring and hopeful despite the lies, and there is a future which leads to forgiveness, both from the audience and Adelaide.
I had a level of affection develop for both these characters. However, due to the continuous tension running underneath the entire play the suspense, shock and horror in the final moment and climax ripped it apart. . Anything else? It’s already had a successful past and I hope for more success in its future! Eleanor x Tryst is playing at Chiswick playhouse until the 29th February 2020. If you like our reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy any of us a virtual coffee here!