Review: A complex study of affairs

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Betrayal is an interesting play told through a chronology of events, in reverse.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given its name, the story centres on an affair between two individuals, each married with two children.

It opens in the spring of 1977, nine years from the beginning of the affair and around two years after it ended, with the former lovers struggling through polite but awkward conversation.

Starting in the aftermath allows an exploration of the consequences of the relationship, exploring themes of lies, deceit, guilt and hurt, with well-placed humour punctuating the otherwise serious topic of ‘betrayal’.

Each act thereafter takes the audience deeper into the affair, ending with the night Emma – performed brilliantly by Rebecca Pownall – and her husband’s best friend, Jerry - Steven Clarke, had their first kiss.

The set remained largely unchanged throughout but the actors made convincing and fluid transitions from pub to house to flat to restaurant.

There were just four actors including a waiter played by Max Wilson and husband Robert, as which Pete Collis gave a stand-out performance, who it transpires was also guilty of ‘betrayal’.

The play offers an honest insight into the complexity of peoples’ relationships and forces an awareness that our actions can have haunting consequences for others.

Betrayal - London Classic Theatre, Theatre Royal, Sept 25