CHRISTOPHER SMITH Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
What people do is interesting. But it is what they are thinking that creates the best drama.
Harold Pinter's Betrayal makes a good case for the generalisation. It states the facts clearly enough in the first few minutes. Then the analysis begins.
On stage we see a wine waiter and just three characters, played by Jenny Dewsbury, Trevor Markworth and Trevor Burton. They act their parts with confidence and aplomb, getting younger and younger as the plot moves into reverse over a decade and a half. Twisting chronology isn't just a gimmick. It's a cunning way of revealing the present, which is the real issue, in the light of the past.
Director Peter Sowerbutts too knows how to make us concentrate on essentials. The set is austerely bare and black to create slightly hostile surroundings for human inter-action.
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The tale is a serious one, with emotions running high, in part because they are beginning to run a bit cold. But there is plenty of humour too.
Betrayal is a particularly adroit play about intellectuals. But the portrayal of a class serves to reveal humanity beneath all the smart attitudes and clever talk.