Passion Play*** (Richmond Theatre, 17 April 2013)

Posted: April 17, 2013 in Theatre

Pre-West End, this is a revival of Peter Nichols’ Pinteresque play from the early 1980s which studies the strains placed on a middle-aged couple’s otherwise comfortable marriage when a predatory young woman sets her sights on the husband.  The twist is that both spouses appear on stage with their alter egos, who express their inner thoughts, prompt and cajole them throughout. Zoe Wanamaker and alter ego Samantha Bond play the wife, Owen Teale and alter ego Oliver Cotton play the husband; even if the chemistry between them is not yet fully realised, this is an accomplished quartet, all able to give the dialogue the brisk delivery it needs and handle rapid shifts in mood. Annabel Scholey is alluring and mischievous as the younger woman. As seen in this production, the play is difficult to categorise, not funny enough to be a comedy, not serious enough to be a drama; furthermore, it tails off badly in the second half once the novelty of the set up has worn thin, making it a classic example of a one act play stretched out to two. Nonetheless the play contains many thought-provoking ideas and this is a very classy production of it.

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