Unlike the seedy environs of Harold Pinter’s earliest celebrated dramas, the mise en scène of his 1978 tale of infidelity and deception is upscale, middle-class London, and centers on “respectable people.” Betrayal opens with a short scene in which Emma (Nike Doukas) and Jerry (Daniel Reichert), a literary agent, meet in a café; after some small talk she announces that she has told her husband (a publisher and Jerry’s good friend), Robert (Leo Marks), about their seven-year affair. From this point, the scenes unfold in reverse chronological order, and the hypocrisy and deceit underlying these characters’ lives become apparent, a web of treachery that’s seductive both in its simplicity and in the facile manner by which it’s tolerated — but nevertheless poisonous in its effect. As unpleasant as the subject matter is, there are moments of dark humor that are cleverly accented under John Demita’s superb direction of this excellent revival. (The action, whose passages are marked by dates written on a chalkboard, has been moved to the 21st century.) All three actors, who easily handle their British accents, turn in fine performances, subtly and convincingly channeling a range of psychological states and emotions that evolve over time. Marks is particularly effective, dosing his character with a blend of aloofness and venomous sarcasm. Rounding out the cast in a small role is Harris Matthews.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Starts: June 28. Continues through Aug. 3, 2008
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