BetrayalA moving revival of Harold Pinter’s 1978 masterpiece, Betrayal, is having a Broadway run at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre and the production is tightly wound and power packed.
Spanning a seven-year affair, the play follows three self-absorbed characters who toy with each other in a game of one-upmanship where the unsaid is paramount and the surface meaning is meaningless.
The innovative structure of the play is beautifully conceived by director Jamie Lloyd as the characters traverse the years in reverse, deceiving each other as well as themselves on a turntable set that contains little more than two chairs, a few minimalist props and surrounded on three sides by a continuous, modern, abstract painting as backdrop. Characters, when not in a scene, wander this no-man’s land at the back perimeter—as if ghostly thoughts in the minds of those in action on the stage foreground.
The three leads, Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox deftly handle the characters and their foibles. Their grasp at something they think they want but can’t fully have is palpable and the strain on the relationships is visceral for the audience.
Many scenes leave you holding your breath wondering if some truth will be revealed and, if so, what will the fallout be? Watching it all unspool backwards makes the suspense all the more gripping and the conclusion (as beginning) an omnipotent view of what is to unfold for these three as the years progress.
Betrayal runs through December 8.