Scenes From a Marriage**** (St James Theatre, 30 September 2013)

Posted: September 30, 2013 in Theatre

Adapted from Ingmar Bergman’s screenplay for television and then cinema, this is a case of the title telling almost all. Marianne and Johan have the perfect marriage, they congratulate themselves on it in the midst of their friends’ marital turmoil. But, typical of highly educated professionals, they think too much, then talk too much and pick at perfection until it starts to unravel. They then become a couple that can neither live together nor apart. A few of the early scenes in Trevor Nunn’s slick and classy production are pedestrian but most scenes work to great effect and the play tightens its grip as it progresses. It is tender and harsh in turns, with considerable warmth and nice dashes of humour belying the play’s Nordic origins. Chief credit for this all coming together so well must go to the superb chemistry between Olivia Williams and Mark Bazeley, who bring their complex characters completely to life and sustain a magnetic presence throughout. The St James continues to establish itself as a prime destination for quality theatre.

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