Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Betrayal"

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note: entire contents copyright 2003 by Beverly Creasey

"Pluperfect Pinter

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

Pinterphiles have something to celebrate this month. The Nora Theatre Company's production of "Betrayal" isn't just compelling. Director Scott Edmiston sees Pinter's triangle as a sophisticated tango and sparks ignite with every step.

Pinter's deceitful dance, for husband, wife and her lover, moves backward in time toward the start of the affair --- but Edmiston offers us one more romantic possibility to consider. What a treat it is to see how he supports the supposition --- which is actually in the text, not just subtext!

Edmiston literally spotlights the two men and from that moment you can't help but pay attention to their complicated relationship. I don't want to give away Edmiston's inspired take on the play. Suffice it to say that it's an angle other directors have ignored --- or swept under the rug.

As the intrigue unfolds like layers of an onion, small and lingering gestures take on large siginificance. Lighting (Karen Perlow), sound (Dewey Dellay) and a stark white set (Janie Howland) slowly conspire to lift off each layer. Howland's progression of photographs of a significant event years before reveals a bit more in each photo, just as each scene brings the play into focus.

Edmiston directs with a Noel Coward sensibility: each vignette is elegantly acted by an extraordinary cast. Anne Gottlieb lets us glimpse the desperation beneath the cool exterior of the wife.' Joe Pacheco radiates British charm as the lover, and Jason Asprey perfectly embodies the British maxim about wit in the face of adversity. Gregory Stuart has a grand time in the small but very funny role of the perspicacious waiter. Pinter would be pleased.

"Betrayal" (till ???)
Boston Playwrights' Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, BOSTON MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide