Directed by Mark Kilmurry
78 McDougall Street, Kirribilli
Season: 21 July – 20 August
Cheating in a marriage could be one of the most intimate betrayals…and yet apparently it is a somewhat commonplace occurrence. This production explores the dynamics of a clandestine relationship and the thrill, guilt and other accessories bound up in the act of an affair, and in turn, its breakdown.
I love the backwards-chronological structure of the play. Pinter’s writing is clever because it manages to shed the most insight regarding the fledgling beginnings of the relationship, rather than placing the emphasis on where the relationship ends up. It is revealing about the micro decisions we make every day and how they contribute to significant life circumstances – without you even realising you were doing it. Curiously, Pinter’s play is based on a 7-year affair he had with Joan Bakewell, and reading her reflections on the play and its blurring of real life and fiction is rather interesting.
The play is fascinating, quirky and engaging. It didn’t really speak to me personally, however, and I wonder if it’s because I’ve never been in the position of marriage or an affair, and these may be quite crucial to the themes in the work. Perhaps the ideas would speak with more lucidity to an older audience. The cast of three are on the ball, and each bring different flavours to the situation. There is magnetic chemistry between Emma (Ursula Mills) and Jerry (Matthew Zeremes), enraptured with sexual tension and the forbidden nature of their relations. Scenes between Zeremes and Guy Edmonds, playing Robert, are undercut by a light tone of absurdism that struck me as both unexpected and highly amusing. Edmonds’ response to the affair is unnerving, as he makes bold choices that prove for an intriguing performance.
The conflict between fidelity and desire is a compromising one that invokes the loss of loyalty either to one’s self, or to one’s loved one. It can break people, and it can break relationships. Pinter’s play draws from his personal experience and is heightened by theatrical facets of structure and absurdist humour to speak to people in a new way. Kilmurry’s production presents wonderful relationship drama and plays to the strengths of Pinter’s script. It pounces with a terrific twist - but I won’t spoil it. I wouldn’t want to betray the play’s secrets