Saturday February 24th 2018

“Betrayal”

1617_betrayal_625x350_0When one attends a play written by Harold Pinter, one can expect a bit of romance, a tinge of mystery and a whole lot of alcohol. This is what Pinter does! The current production of Pinter’s “Betrayal” directed by Lauren Shouse, on the very intimate stage in the smaller, West Stage at Raven is 75 minutes of romantic intrigue allowing us to be privy to a long term relationship, but unlike other productions, Shouse tells the story from the woman’s angle. Emma ( the lovely and enchanting Abigail Boucher), a dutiful wife and mother of two, has been carrying on a long term affair with Jerry ( charmingly played by Sam Guinan-Nyhart), her husband’s best friend. The husband, Robert (deftly handled by Keith Neagle) is a book publisher, and Jerry a literary agent. Jerry also is married (to a physician) and has two children. The affair ends as the play begins and is then told in amazingly quick flashbacks.

To assist you in keeping up, the story starts in 1977, Spring and then goes to a later scene. We then go back to 1975, Winter and then further back to Autumn of 1974. As we learn more about the relationship and go back to 1973, then 1971 and the play ends on the day of Robert and Emma’s wedding in 1968, when Jerry tells her that he adores and loves her. One must pay close attention to the words in order to know exactly where they are as the set (cleverly designed by Lauren Nigri) can be a restaurant, a hotel room in Venice, a study, an apartment (not just any old apartment, but the flat that these two share during nine years of being “lovers”), a pub and more. All of this, just by moving a futon-like piece about and changing the location of two chairs and a small table.betrayal1

betrayal2The musical interludes between the nine scenes are done by Kevin O’Donnell who also handles the sound ,and the lighting by Becca Jeffords and props by Clara Wendland are the icing on the technical cake. What makes this play effective is the actors, and being as close as we are to the stage, being able to watch their faces and see their reactions to Pinter’s words. Jerry is, after all, Robert’s best friend and while he loves Emma, would never do anything to hurt the relationship that he has with his best friend. Meanwhile, his home life will not and cannot change, so he is, for all intents and purposes, happy as is. That is until he finds out that Robert knows! How would one react to learning that his dearest friend is having a relationship with his wife? Pinter sees it in a far different light than I do, but we learn more about Robert at the start, so it is not as strange as it might seem.

“Betrayal” tells us a unique story, but does so in reverse. The play begins with the break-up and the truth being revealed and ends with the two lovers finding that a certain chemistry exists between them. We, the audience, feel as if we are betrayal4peering through the windows and learning the secrets of our neighborhood. There are a few questions that remain unanswered, in my mind, but overall, I would have to say this piece is well done, well acted and well -directed. My only negative feeling about the play is wondering if Pinter really was comfortable with his own scripting of the material. A few more answers may have made it a 90 minutes play, and just might have made the story more complete. There was one more performer in this solid production, one Richard Cotovsky (well -known to anyone who ever saw a Marry-Arrchie Theatre production) as the Italian waiter (great job Rich-glad to see you on the stage again).

“Betrayal” will continue at The Raven Theatre’s West Stage, located at 6157 N. Clark Street (at Granville) thru December 17th with performances as follows:

betrayal6Thursdays  8 p.m.

Fridays  8 p.m.

Saturdays  8 p.m.

Sundays  3:30 p.m. starting November 12th there will also be Saturday matinees at 3:30 p.m.

NO SHOW: Thursday, November 24th

Tickets are $46 ($43 if purchased online) less $5 for seniors and teachers- students and military $22 ($21 online)

To call the box office  773-338-2177 or online, visit www.raventheatre.com

There is free parking in the lot next door and free street parking in the area (meters on the street) and The Raven is easy to get to by Metra.

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Betrayal”betrayal7

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