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Betrayal at the Comedy theatre

Published 17 June 2011

Tension is so often the name of the game when it comes to Pinter’s plays, but arguably never more so than in the love triangle drama of Betrayal.

Though it may not be as dark as many of Pinter’s other offerings, intrigue and power struggles are as present as ever on the Comedy theatre stage.

Never has the thought of a squash game sounded so much like riding into bloody battle than when touted by Ben Miles’s Robert, the husband cuckolded by his best friend, who oozes set-jawed danger and bristling, barely controlled anger. 

For other shows, letting slip about an affair in a review could be considered a plot spoiler that should see the reviewer hung drawn and quartered for revealing more than the cast of The Only Way Is Essex on a night out. But Betrayal toys with the audience by reversing the chronology, showing us the end of the affair first and working its way back to the drink-fuelled, passionate beginnings.

Subsequently, we are never quite sure who knows what, and even if what they claim to know is the truth, as memories and stories are regularly disputed.

It all adds up to a tale in which every one of the three characters betrays each of the others, their off-stage families and even themselves in so many ways.

While the most wronged character is that of Miles’s Robert, he manages to seem less likeable that Douglas Henshall’s vulnerable Jerry, who still possesses a naïve, poetic heart, and Kristin Scott Thomas’s Emma, striving for the family life she doesn’t get at home.

The costumes for Ian Rickson’s production come courtesy of world-renowned fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. The characters might look slick, but the world’s most stylish garments can’t disguise their pain.



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