Thursday, 3 April 2014

Fatal Attraction at Theatre Royal, Haymarket

Photo: Alastair Muir

I was lucky enough this week to be a 'plus one' for Fatal Attraction at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket and when invited I jumped at the chance as it was on my must-see theatre list.
Who can forget the impact that the eighties film made? It is one of the only films I haven't seen in over 15 years and yet I can remember exactly what happens. Fatal Attraction brought the term 'bunny boiler' to the English vernacular and it's still used today by the tabloids. So taking this iconic film and turning it into the confines of a stage play with so much to live up to was always going to be a tough ask.

But they have done really rather well. The cast are well balanced and play beautifully off one another - and the ensemble cast are key to really setting the scene in terms of the Manhattan lifestyle. From bedroom to bar they give background depth to what is, essentially, a bit of a three-hander.

So back to the cast. Natasha McElhone plays Alex Forrest the seriously disturbed and deranged other women. Stepping into Glen Close's shoes she plays this twisted yet beguiling - at once you can see why he made a play for her but there is always an underlying unease from her too eager smile to her mad stare. Many of you will recognise her as the co-star alongside David Duchovny in US TV hit Californication.

The husband, Dan Gallagher, is played by Mark Bazeley (you may have seen him in Mistresses) who tells the story directly to the audience as it unfolds. He is totally at ease with breaking down the fourth wall and these interludes make sure the play keeps moving forward at a good pace. He is not a likeable character, however, egocentric, and bit slippery, we see him twist and turn to try to get out of the situation he finds himself in, to no avail.

Kristin Davis (from Sex and the City) plays his sweet wife, Beth Gallagher, and at first the character is a bit two dimensional, all sugar and light, but later on there is a hint of the career woman as she fights to save her family and her marriage.

If you haven't seen the film you'll love it. If you have you won't be disappointed. The only thing that slightly doesn't work are the costumes which are still stuck in the '90's whereas the play has been brought up to date with references to Facebook and the use of mobile phones. It's a small point and really don't let it put you off!

The plays end is beautifully done to the score from Madame Butterfly. Many newspaper critics have not liked this stage production at all. They don't see the point of it and feels it lacks passion. I would say to ignore the critics and make up your own minds. I enjoyed revisiting this story, almost like visiting an old friend after many years, and  Natasha McElhone is well worth turning stumping up for the price of a theatre ticket.

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