Review: Betrayal, starring Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Cox, and Zawe Ashton

September 7, 2019

With just a turntable, white walls, and a few chairs, the staging for this revival of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, directed by Jamie Lloyd, focuses all of our attention to the three actors that occupy the space as they wind their way backwards through the breakdown of a marriage. 

 

The play opens with Emma (Zawe Ashton) and Jerry (Charlie Cox) examining the end of their years long affair and the effects that it has had on their lives. And like clockwork, the play rewinds to show the audience exactly how they got to that point, back to their first romantic tryst at a party hosted by Emma and her husband Robert (Tom Hiddleston). 

 

What is particularly jarring about Lloyd's staging however is the fact that the third party is always present. The three actors are onstage for almost the entire ninety minutes of the play, reminding the audience that there is always something that comes between the relationships these characters have with each other. 

 

While being skillfully directed, Betrayal is also marvelously acted. Hiddleston, Cox, and Ashton all make their Broadway debuts with this production, as does Eddie Arnold who plays the Waiter. Any number of adjectives could be used to describe the absolutely magnificent performances the actors are giving, ones which immediately engages the audience with the story. 

 

The simplicity and boldness that characterizes this revival of Betrayal breathes a sense of new life into this oft-revived drama. It speaks to both the agony of life and implausible elements of love, while both staying faithful to Pinter's play and exercising a sweeping overhaul to how we picture the play in our heads. 

 

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