London Classic Theatre at the Civic Theatre, Chelmsford
Laura Bennett was at the Civic for the Chelmsford Weekly News:
Following a history of successes, London Classic Theatre return to Chelmsford again this season with their taut production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal. Directed by Michael Cabot, the slick, elegant performances are played out among Bek Palmer's stylised set. Fragments of once inhabited locations that the characters, ghost-like, slip through and around, their lives reflected in the decrepit, broken down remnants of the walls.
Pinter's use of reverse chronology slowly reveals details of Emma's affair with Jerry, her husband Robert's best friend, with the audience first witnessing the pair two years after the break up of their liaison. The timeframe allows the audience to have a constant sense of the future, and through the revelation of the past to piece together events and revel in the details.
Rebecca Pownall achieves a wonderful depth of character as Emma, portraying the uptight worries of the woman we see at the play's opening, gradually shedding years and cares as we witness a youthful, energetic Emma in the honeymoon period of her illicit relationship. The scene in Venice is particularly revealing, with Emma's stony faced reaction to Robert's knowledge of her affair - affectingly performed by Pete Collis - disclosing the emotional disconnection from her husband. This is not a detachment shared by partner Jerry, whose regular references to his wife and family prove that despite his betrayal he is loyal to them at his heart. A softer, needier character than Emma, he is given an intelligent portrayal by Steven Clarke.
Produced to the high quality for which London Classic Theatre are now known, this is a fast paced, revealing and thought-provoking production of an entertaining Pinter, which retains an exciting dramatic tension throughout.