a.k.a. "The Oscar Messenger"

The hottest thing on Broadway right now is the Mike Nichols directed revival of one Harold Pinter’s late plays, “Betrayal.” Starring Daniel Craig it is breaking box-office records and raking in $400 a seat if you REALLY want to see it that badly. Let me tell you to rush to refund your ticket money, because you’re going to feel betrayed by “Betrayal.”

It’s really not much of anything. And oh, it goes BACKWARDS in time. As if it needs some kind of pretension of depth, of which there seems to be none. 

It’s not chilling or threatening or any of the other Harold Pinter hallmarks. 

I must admit, I’m in the John Simon camp of critics on this one. I’m not a fan, and always feel like he’s getting away with something. In “Betrayal,” he IS getting away with something and it’s YOUR MONEY, if you’re stupid enough to spend it on this hyped-up piece of trash.

Oh yes, I do love Daniel Craig. Who doesn’t? But onstage he does not have the same presence he has on film. He holds back. And though he comes from a solid British stage background, you’d never know it.  He seems charisma-free.

His wife, the Academy Award winning actress Rachel Weisz, never seems to miss hitting the bulls-eye in any film I’ve seen her in. Again that cinematic presence and chemistry does not translate on stage. At least not here.

And she’s playing opposite her husband, as his wife, and there’s zero electricity between them. 

The Brits have never seemed so cold or distasteful to me as they do here in “Betrayal”. Perhaps that’s Pinter’s point. To make you have the ’70s London literary set…But…somehow I think that’s not what was meant. 

Whatever was meant is not meant here as this production means absolutely nothing. It was only 90 mins. It was 90 mins. too long.



Comments on: "I Feel Betrayed by “Betrayal”" (7)

  1. Oh no! I already have tickets! I noticed that Ben Brantley wasn’t particularly enthused either.

  2. Ah Stephen ‘the Brits have never seemed so cold or distasteful to me as they do in Betrayal’..~ allow me to warm you up a little…
    I had the good fortune to see a performance of Betrayal at Sheffield Crucible, UK last year with the cast of John Simm, Colin Tierney, Juliet Aubrey (replaced by Ruth Gemmell) and I thought it was marvellous. ~ it worked really well on the Crucible stage.
    Thought Colin Tierney (Robert) was exceptional..his delivery of lines was superlative and funny! Harold Pinter ~a very fine wordsmith. Ruth Gemmell, John Simm and Colin Tierney are a credit to their profession and they were warmly applauded..
    Highly recommended by myself and my student daughter who turned to me a third of the way in saying ‘This is really good.’ and she’s hard to please
    There was sarcasm, irony and laughter. I think there’s a rather deeper element running through the subtext with Pinter and the vocal delivery of the words elicit certain nuances. I wonder if ‘something’ was lost in the interpretation betwixt UK and USA….I know we don’t always share the same sense of humour and nor should we..’Vive La Difference’, I say
    Somewhat SHOCKED at the cost of tickets $400~ really? I went to a Public Dress Rehearsal which cost me the princely sum of £1 (YES, REALLY!).
    Sorry to hear your disappointment but I thought the version I saw was excellent and I was extremely impressed with Mr.Colin Tierney who was outstanding.

    Pinter’s 20th play, Betrayal was written and first performed at the National Theatre in 1978. A year later it won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play. It is widely regarded as one of Pinter’s major dramatic works, and is thought to have been inspired by Pinter’s seven year extra marital affair with BBC TV presenter and journalist Joan Bakewell.

    I KNOW you will have an AMAZING night when you see Conor McPherson’s The Night Alive ~ one rather lovely Irish Man puts in a breath-taking performance as ‘moocher’Tommy..Yes… Yer MAN, Ciaran Hinds can really shake the ol’ shoe shuffle.. he is,simply ‘the best’.. I’ll look forward to your review.
    Love Ya Stephen!…


    • So, not having seen these actors or this production you mention, I can safely say that Daniel Craig was mis-cast in the role of the cuckolded husband. Who would cheat on HIM? Certainly not his IRL wife Rachel weisz! And with the dweebie supreme Rafe Spall. It was ridiculous! And all those nuances in the writing you mentioned = Not Played!
      Check out Ben Brantley’s review in the NYTimes, who basically blamed the production and the actors, esp. Mr. Craig. Unfortunately.

  3. Yes, I appreciate your comments Stephen..different actors, different Production..Hard to explain how the same words can differ so much ~ the production I saw did a really good job…Yes, I agree with your summation of Daniel Craig..who would cheat on him? A great pity as I really rate Daniel as a film actor..I’ve not seem him on stage and if the tickets are $400 a throw…someone’s getting paid well!..you would feel short-changed, indeed! Someone’s missing a trick here….you have the playwrights words .. the delivery with Pinter has to be spot-on or, like you say, the meaning is ‘lost’.
    Thanks for the heads-up on Ben Brantley’s review..~I’ll look it up. Incidentially, I am the ‘Blue’ you so fondly call on your YouTube Page!
    Hope you’re having a relaxing evening ~ Kindest Regards

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