|Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton, Charlie Cox. Photo: Marc Brenner
By Harold Pinter
Directed by Jamie Lloyd
Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre
Through Dec. 8, 2019
By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
What's It All About?
Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton, and Charlie Cox all making their Broadway debuts in Harold Pinter's study of betrayal. Hiddleston plays Robert, who discovers that his wife, Emmy (Ashton), has been having an affair with his best friend, Jerry (Cox), for seven years. Multiple layers of betrayal emerge and the actors, directed by Jamie Lloyd, dig deep for the emotions felt by their characters.
What Are the Highlights?
Strong performances. Even though the characters aren't very likable (Emmy seems to enjoy feeding her ego at the expense of the two men; Jerry has no problem sleeping with his best friend's wife; Robert appears not to care much that he has... Hiddleston ("The Avengers") does give a hint of the inner turmoil his character feels when learning of the betrayal, but the character, for reasons unknown to us, never really expresses it.
What Are the Lowlights?
The play doesn't really go any where and a confusing reverse chronological order to the action makes it difficult to follow what happens when (I know it is reverse chronological order, but if I didn't, that technique would not always be apparent). Information about what took place six years ago, two years ago requires the viewer to do mental math to try to see whether the years are sequenced correctly and it doesn't always seem like they are.
Set Design by Soutra Gilmour (who also designs the costumes) is stark -- a few pieces of furniture -- so prop placement is noticeable and distracting. Why are those drinking glasses downstage? Why are other props pantomimed? Why am I asking these kind of questions? Because the plot doesn't hold interest.
90 minutes with no intermission
This production formed the culmination of Pinter at the Pinter, an unprecedented London season of Harold Pinter’s work taking place over the 2018/19 season. This project consisted of more than 30 pieces. Marking the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death, Betrayal played in the West End theater that bears his name, breaking all box office records.
Eddie Arnold as the Waiter.
Lighting Design by Jon Clark; Sound Design and Music by Ben and Max Ringham.
God's name taken in vain.