Review: Hudson Reed Ensemble’s ‘Betrayal’
If You Go …
What: ‘Betrayal,’ presented by the Hudson Reed Ensemble
Where: Rio Grande Room
When: Friday, Nov. 7 & Sunday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $20, available at the door and www.hudsonreedensemble.org
“I don’t think we don’t love each other,” Jerry says early on in “Betrayal,” the Harold Pinter drama that concludes its run at the Rio Grande Room this weekend.
The most devastating aspect of the play is that all three of its principal characters probably do love each other. But that doesn’t stop them from hurting one another, and themselves, in their betrayals.
It plays out in nine domestic scenes, spanning nine years, running mostly in reverse chronological order, chronicling an affair between Jerry (Lee Sullivan) and Emma (Nikki Boxer), and its toll on Jerry’s friendship with Emma’s husband, Robert (Franz Alderfer).
“Betrayal” marks Lee Sullivan’s last performance in the valley after a prolific career on the local stages. And while it’s a complex emotional performance and a fittingly splendid final bow for this talented local actor, the play also demonstrates he’s leaving Aspen’s theater scene in good hands.
As Emma, Boxer continues an ascendant run on local stages over the past two years, which also has included her astounding performance as Vanda in “Venus in Fur” at the 2014 Aspen Fringe Festival and dynamic turns in Thunder River Theatre’s “The Fourposter” and as Madame Thenardier in Theatre Aspen’s “Les Miserables.”
Alderfer nails the droll British humor of Pinter’s dialogue and brings a simmering rage to the role that gives “Betrayal” much of its emotional heft. In a boozy lunch scene between Jerry and Robert — both players in the publishing business — Alderfer walks a dramatic tightrope, winning laughs while simultaneously sinking your heart.
The stark set of Hudson Reed’s production and the intimate setting of the Rio Grande Room serves the show well. It’s an intense, at times claustrophobic, experience to sit in the play’s domestic hell while confined to a space where you’re feet away from the actors, even if you’re in the last row.
Saturday’s performance has been canceled, so tonight and Sunday are your last chances to see Sullivan at work on stage.
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