Extra chairs were laid on for Saturday night's sold-out performance of Harold Pinter's deliciously twisted exploration of the question haunting us all: What is this thing called love? Sarah (wonderfully and sensuously played by Vanessa Walton-Bone) and Richard (Phil Reid, visually and note perfect in a tricky multi-leveled role ) have been married for ten years. As happens in most marriages of some duration, early passion and ardour has devolved into a formal, ritualized relationship. Pinter makes it obvious that each party deeply cares for the other. How Sarah and Richard cope with the missing passion in their lives is hilariously explained in the play's opening lines. Morning. Richard (suited up for business, briefcase in hand, standing by a door ready to leave for the city): "Is your lover coming today?" Sarah replies that he is. After lunch. Richard nods. Forces a smile. Leans forward to give Sarah a peck on the cheek. "Have a pleasant afternoon." Blackout. Audience laughs, shocked and amused. It would be bad form to reveal the play's clever, witty plot twists and turns. Put it this way. As themselves, marriage for Sarah and Richard doesn't fully and completely work. Trysts with others, however, keeps the sexual aspect of their lives fulfilled, alive and satiated. Thusly they have arrived at a "beautiful balance" : friends in marriage with debauchery on the side. Both have come to terms with the status quo. Until ... The Lover glows with style, sharp witty writing, smart staging and lovely choreography between the principals - at times smoldering. Yes. You read right. Smoldering. With Pinter you get everything. Mystery. Comedy. Emotional explosions. Humanity. And moments of deep poignancy. One such moment finishes the play. Afterwhich the overflow audience last night burst into brisk applause and cheered. There is one show today. For those who relish theatre that works on all levels at the top of its game, The Lover is not to be missed.
Showing at Neptune Theatre's Imperial Room Sunday Sept 9 at 7:30 $6.00