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Fatal Attraction at Theatre Royal Brighton | Review

It is 35 years since the Paramount Pictures movie starring Glenn Close and Michael Douglas was released, and it is a brave producer, in this case ATG, who would dare attempt to emulate the success and power of the original.

A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden. Credit Tristram Kenton.
A scene from Fatal Attraction by James Dearden. Credit Tristram Kenton.

The original screenplay is by James Dearden who adapted it into a stage play in 2014. Very sensibly, the story of a successful, happily married lawyer’s weekend of passion with a seductive but unstable woman, has been updated by both Dearden and the director, Loveday Ingram, to the present day. In fact, one wonders how we survived without Smart Phones all those years ago! The simple, ‘L’ shaped set (Morgan Large) is imaginatively used – entrances appear and disappear, as do various items of furniture including the all-important bed, and computer images (Mogzi) are displayed throughout to help establish the locale as well as the atmosphere and emotion. There is an almost continuous soundtrack by Carolyn Downing with music composed by Paul Englishby and effective lighting design by Jack Knowles.

Oliver Farnworth is Dan Gallagher the lawyer, the inflection of his voice often reminding us of Michael Douglas. He is superb, making more of the rather two-dimensional role than might be thought possible. He has terrific energy and is always watchable: we can see his inward panic as he tries and fails to control his life. The production is well worth seeing for his performance alone!

His wife, Beth, is also given what now seems to be a stereotypical role but Susie Amy more than makes it her own, and we easily empathise with her. It is always fascinating to see what a really competent actor is able to make of a poorly written part, and Susie Amy makes us believe in her completely.

The ‘other woman’, Alex Forrester, the role that Glenn Close played memorably in the 1987 film, is in the hands of Kym Marsh. She is at her best in the choreographed “fight” scenes and will, I am sure, grow into the role even more as the tour progresses.

The secondary role of Beth’s mother, Joan, is sympathetically portrayed by Anita Booth and Dan’s friend and confidant, Jimmy, is made very real by the naturalistic acting of John Macaulay.

Clearly the predominantly female audience at the Theatre Royal Brighton knew the original movie well, judging by the reaction every time the word “rabbit” was mentioned, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing it on stage, as I did, even if the scene where Dan is arrested needs more rehearsal.

This is well worth catching on its UK tour of ATG and other theatres during the next few months, whether or not you know the movie! It works well as a play.

4 stars

Review by John Groves

When happily married New York attorney Dan Gallagher, meets charming editor Alex Forrest on a night out in the city, they both commit to a night of passion they can’t take back. Dan returns home to his family and tries to forget the mistake he has made, but Alex has different ideas. Dan’s about to discover that love is a dangerous game, and Alex has only one rule; you play fair with her, and she’ll play fair with you.

Tipped to be the most provocative and gripping stage-play of the year, Fatal Attraction is a tale of seduction and suspense that asks the question; what happens when desire becomes deadly? It promises to be sensational, edge of your seat entertainment.

Experience the iconic story like you’ve never seen it before.
Please be warned that the production features adult language, violence, partial nudity and scenes of self-harm

Fatal Attraction UK Tour

Theatre Royal Brighton Events
Fri 14 Jan – Sat 22 Jan 2022

Book Tickets for The Alexandra, Birmingham
Tue 1 Mar – Sat 5 Mar 2022

Book Tickets for Richmond Theatre
Mon 21 Mar – Sat 26 Mar 2022

Book Tickets for Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
Mon 4 Apr – Sat 9 Apr 2022

Book Tickets for Theatre Royal Glasgow
Mon 18 Apr – Sat 23 Apr 2022

Book Tickets for Grand Opera House York
Mon 2 May – Sat 7 May 2022

Book Tickets for Opera House Manchester
Tue 22 Feb – Sat 26 Feb 2022

Author

  • John Groves

    John Groves studied singing with Robert Easton and conducting with Clive Timms. He was lucky enough to act in the British premiere of a Strindberg play at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe more years ago than he cares to remember, as well as singing at the Royal Opera House - once! He taught drama and music at several schools, as well as examining the practical aspects of GCSE and A level drama for many years. For twenty five years he has conducted a brass band as well as living on one of the highest points of East Sussex surrounded by woodland, deer, foxes and badgers, with kites and buzzards flying overhead.

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