We start in 1977 as Emma (Kathryn Willis) and Jerry (Isaac Sprague) meet at a bar two years after their seven-year affair has ended, to note the end of Emma’s marriage to Jerry’s best friend, Robert (Aiden James). Pensive, Pinteresque pauses and cryptic, naturalistic dialogue convey a wistful discomfort with how it all has turned out.
As we work our way back to the beginning of the affair in 1971, we explore assorted lies and deceptions— of self and partners — along the way. Here’s hoping all your marriages are in better shape than these.
Kathryn and Isaac were very convincing, though they are somewhat younger than their 35-40 ish characters. Aiden James, however, as Emma’s husband Robert, seemed too young to be believed in this role, though he had a dignified demeanor and convincing British accent. (It didn’t help that he looks very much like my 12-year old grandson.)
All three did well on the accent; the script has so many British idioms and references, it has to be done in dialect. Kudos to new director Elijah Burton and to the very busy set changing crew. Welcome to Marcia Beer, returning to the stage after 35 years as an able bartender and waitress. I enjoyed the between-scenes music as it devolved back to the era of MY first marriage.
This was another under-attended show in the glut of theatres that represent the G.L.U.T. Both new theatres, East Lansing Community Theatre with its Shakespeare, and The Downeaster with its ambitious schedule of both adult and children’s shows, are struggling to fill the seats but worthy efforts, nonetheless.
Betrayal continues at 8 pm tonight and through next weekend.
8 pm Fridays;
2 & 8 pm Saturdays;
8pm Thursday 3/30,
2 pm Sun 3/25 only (no Easter show)
The Downeaster Theatre
1120 N. Pennsylvania,
renovated church building between Oakland and Grand River.