Review: Betrayal, by Harold Pinter, Foolhardy Theatre Company, Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft and on tour

Andy Wisher and Jonny Goddard in Betrayal by Harold Pinter

Andy Wisher and Jonny Goddard in Betrayal by Harold Pinter - Credit: Archant

Foolhardy Theatre Company presents an atmospheric production of Harold Pinter’s one act play, Betrayal, which examines the destruction and hypocrisy of marriage, loyalty and duty in 1970s literary London.

Andy Wisher and Jonny Goddard in Betrayal by Harold Pinter

Andy Wisher and Jonny Goddard in Betrayal by Harold Pinter - Credit: Archant

This play starts with the awkward meeting of two ex-lovers Emma and Jerry. Emma’s husband, Robert is, of course, Jerry’s oldest friend and even though their affair has been over for several years, Jerry, the shallow hypocrite has no guilt, only smugness that they had never been found out.

Emma seems so detached and unreadable you cannot imagine an ounce of passion between the pair had ever existed. So as the play moves back in time, we look for clues to comfort ourselves that it was worth it for our couple.

There is something so British about this play. Nobody says a great deal about how they really feel. It all feels terribly polite and for a play about sexual passion it is very unsexy. The production successfully evokes the kind of bourgeois , upper middle class world that you can imagine Pinter himself inhabiting in 70s literary London: Just too late and establishment to truly embrace the counterculture, but clearly in time for whatever’s left of the sexual revolution. This production keeps to period with flares, maxi dresses and enough booze in every scene to give Mad Men a run for its money.

As the only female character, Abi Watson presents Emma as a flat, emotionless proposition- a conduit for the flashier male characters. But as we look for clues, there is more to her than meets the eye, however, the men are far too enamoured with themselves to truly see her. It is significant that when she develops her own career and is no longer readily available for Jerry, the affair starts to flounder. Andy Wisher is particularly good as Robert , the husband, giving a rounded, realistic and thoughtful characterisation. Wisher’s performance presents a clear journey backwards that makes his start resonate more memorably throughout.


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Betrayal is on tour in Suffolk in March.

Jackie Montague

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