As you may have read in my London post, I had the opportunity to go see the play Betrayal which featured Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Cox and Zawe Ashton. In this post, I shall be reviewing the play, pointing out both its highs and lows. As with any review, this opinion is my own and I don’t mean to offend the creators of the play or the actors portraying the characters.
A Jamie Lloyd production, this Harold Pinter play stars Tom Hiddleston as Robert, a publisher whose wife Emma, played by Ashton, has an affair with his old university buddy Jerry (Cox). The Harold Pinter play retraces the steps through an almost-decade-long affair: it doesn’t follow the usual pattern of working from the past and progressing into the present; this was a touch which confused me at first but ended up enjoying a lot.
The whole story was played on an empty stage, which becomes very powerful when you connotate it with the extramarital affair that is eating away the three parties involved, and it is also symbolic to the lack of love between the married couple.
The play starts with Emma assessing the end of her affair with Jeremy as an examination of the breakdown of a romantic relationship. An important feature that’s to note is the fact that Lloyd always included the third party in the background of every scene. Every scene – be it between husband and wife or lovers – exist in relation to the person left out.
One of the most powerful scenes, in my opinion, was when while Emma and Jerry were together in the apartment they shared for their secret meetings, Robert is on a rotary platform, sitting down with Emma’s daughter in his arms. Another scene that caught my eye was a scene where Robert and Emma are arguing during a vacation in Venice, while Jerry sits and stares into space.
The betrayal is always evident and clearly pointed out in every scene. This seems to be pretty symbolic of the fact that all three parties keep coming between one another. Another good thing to point out is how as time is reversing as the play progressed, the three characters remained unchanged: no haircuts and no change in outfits. It’s only their attitudes and moods that shift.
My personal opinion: The play was excellently written by Harold Pinter back in 1978, and is as relevant back then as it is in the present time. The message of the play is even more powerful since Pinter wrote it based on the first-hand experience of extra-marital affairs. The music and minimalism in every scene really captivate the breaking down of a marriage, friendship and affair. I honestly really enjoyed it, however, felt it was too compact and short considering the amount of money I paid for. The price is only understandable because the play stars Hollywood actor (and also my birthday twin and favourite anti-villain in the MCU) Tom Hiddleston (who plays Loki in Avengers and Thor movies) and Charlie Cox (he starred as Daredevil Marvel’s Daredevil and Marvel’s The Defenders on Netflix).
So would I recommend the play? Yes. It was very well-written and acted out, but you only have until June 8 to do so! Click here to buy your tickers.