Sunday, September 23

Passion Play

- April 24, 2013

Peter Nichols’ witty and brilliantly conceived drama about fidelity and infidelity is a meaty affair. It starts light, a frothy comedy, tinged with darkness, about a relationship. But by the second half the froth has gone flat, the lighthearted jokes about love have become bitter jibes about deceit and abandonment.

Zoë Wannamaker has star billing and her performance is excellent, especially towards the end when the sparkle and lights in her eyes simply deaden as she gives in. But this is an ensemble piece and requires a company of equal talent to pull it off. Thank heavens then for Samantha Bond, Annabel Scholey, Sian Thomas, Oliver Cotton and Owen Teale. Teale is superb as the long-standing husband, the reluctant adulterer who inevitably gives in to the wiles of Kate, the moral-free seductress who lures him into her web.

In less able hands this would simply be a bedroom farce, a romp in which friends’ lives and loves become a tangled mess. Not so with Peter Nichols’ script and David Leveaux’s excellent direction. The cast are dragged through the mud and mire of an emotional disaster, even the strongest characters are damaged by their actions – but none more so than Wannamaker and Bond’s beautifully played Eleanor – finally destroyed by the affair body and sould are divided.

Theatre Royal Brighton, 23 April 2013
Rating: ★★★★★
Andrew Kay




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