10 April 2014

Fatal Attraction at the Theatre Royal Haymarket

The first reviews for Fatal Attraction are coming in and they are generally poor. They are also wrong. This is a fine performance and I enjoyed it immensely.

It is not the sort of play that I would normally be attracted but what swung it was the offer of cheap tickets via the theatre club at work and it came with the name Sir Trevor Nunn attached to it.

It was not the sort of film that I would normally watch either and so I went with just a clue to the plot rather than with much detail. I have no idea how close the play is to the film, and I do not care.

Somehow this was my first visit to the Theatre Royal Haymarket though I had walked past in many times, often on the way to/from other theatres.

As this was a group booking I was in the stalls (F5). I had a good view from there but as before the show started all I could see was the large black safety-curtain I have not included the usual view-from-my-seat photo.

Fatal Attraction, in case you did not know, is the fairly simple story of a married man who has a brief fling with another woman which he immediately regrets and tries to walk away from. But she has other ideas and becomes increasing frenzied in her wish to keep the relationship going.

That makes the woman, Alex Forrest played by Natascha McElhone, the centre of the action and she was perfect as both the blonde temptress and then the vengeful mistress.

Another of the play's strengths was the way that it was constructed, and I presume that Trevor Nunn was to thank for much of that.

Physically the set swung effortlessly from scene to scene allowing the action to flow freely between homes, offices and parks. Emotionally the play used Madame Butterfly cleverly to build to the climax, though the final scene was a little unnecessary for those of us who knew the opera.

And while Alex was the baddie in the story some of the blame was also neatly placed on the man, Dan Gallagher played by Mark Bazeley, who took the lead in his initial encounter with Alex, and also on his wife, Beth Gallagher played by Kristin Davis, who in presenting Dan with a choice of town v country spurred him to have that fateful night on the town. The fairly simple story was actually a bit more complicated than it first looked. Their daughter and her pet rabbit were blameless though.

The tension built nicely and there were gasps of surprise from the audience, most of whom I assume actually knew the story beforehand. It was billed as a thriller and it was.

Fatal Attraction was a gripping story well told and I enjoyed it immensely.

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