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BETRAYAL Andrews Theatre/Irish Classical Theatre Company
Feb 24, 2024, 14:29
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Through March 17
BETRAYAL Andrews Theatre/Irish Classical Theatre Company

By Augustine Warner

How did we get here?
That’s a familiar line from TV or movies or the stage, usually toward the end of a tale of woe and tragedy.
In “Betrayal,” Harold Pinter opens with Jerry (Anthony Alcocer) and Emma (Aleks Malejs) meeting for a drink and a painful look at their long affair.
Pinter based the play on one of his own serial adulteries and it is said to have been very accurate about this particular affair.
What’s different about this look at lust in London’s chattering literary classes is that Pinter wrote the story in reverse, opening with the drinks between Jerry and Emma and concluding with the adulterous startup six months after Emma married Robert (Steve Copps).
Jerry was the best man at that wedding, chosen because they were best friends.
The affair ran on for so long Emma and Jerry had a North London apartment for their trysts, jointly decorated by the two.
Jerry is a literary agent often selling to Robert’s publishing company and the three are in frequent contact.
For reasons Jerry can’t wrap his head around, Emma had told Robert about the affair four years before the breakup.
Pinter has a reputation for his compact dialogue, particularly the often one-word exchanges in the pub which opens the play and it’s filled with quick and short back-and-forths.
Perhaps, the only exception is Jerry and Robert in Venice for a meal, talking about business and life, with John Profeta as the bilingual waiter zipping in and out with occasional food and some drink.
It’s actually funny.
What’s weird about this meeting and others in the play is family discussions about Robert and Emma and Jerry and Judith, although we never meet Judith, and the two men talk of history, business and never get into the elephant in their lives, the affair.
“Betrayal” is a play which requires strong performances from the cast and director Greg Natale gets that from his cast, especially Copps and Alcocer.
While Malejs’ Emma is central to the story, the real action revolves around the relationship between the old friends, whose loyalty to their caste and Oxbridge backgrounds allows for a lack of loyalty to marriage.
They really make this sleazy tale work.
From a visual point of view, Jerry and Robert change their clothing constantly during this relatively long one-act play while Emma wears the same vividly colored slacks all the way through, with Natale’s direction and Vivian DelBello’s costume design.
“Betrayal” is a fascinating tale with strong performances on a spare set from Spencer Dick.
Pinter was not a pleasant human being to so many in his private life but that makes for good material for his professional life.

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