“There are two kinds of people in this world, those who take and those who are taken” says actor Fred Perry as he reprises his role of Mr George Love in Tryst. Love is one of two characters we meet in Karoline Leach’s reinvigorated production currently playing at the revamped Chiswick Playhouse in Turnham Green.
The play itself is based on real-life events that took place in the UK in Edwardian London, without giving too much away (and I beg you not to read ahead and research the piece before you go) the piece is a thriller with a climactic end that creeps up on you unaware and leaves you with a spine-chilling sensation and a desperate need to google our main protagonist! (Mouth firmly closed here!)
The production is a two-hander brought to life by the superbly cast Fred Perry (George Love) and Scarlett Brooks (Adelaide Pinchin). 85 minutes in length without an interval, the production is pacey, the on-stage chemistry tight and the story is compelling enough to not check your watch once throughout the show! The dialogue is a mixture of soliloquy style story-telling as well as fast-paced duologues which amplify the chemistry of our on-stage duo.
Perry portrays George Love as an enigmatic rogue, a fantasist, a bigamist with misogynist tendencies that cause groans from the audience, yet still appears attractive, likable and we can totally see why our heroine Adelaide Pinchin falls for his banter. The fact that he is charming, well-dressed and has a great smile does not go un-noticed on or off the stage! Adelaide, in contrast, is our working class milliner, a lady who purposely works in the back room so as not to trouble the customers. Brooks plays her character’s frigidity and vulnerability well, we cannot help but love her, warm to her and want her to see through the charms and wiles of George Love. The contrast and powerplay between these two is really great to watch. As power shifts between them and back again you really do get to see these actors show their craft at its best.
Considering the stage at The Chiswick Playhouse is very small and black box in style, the creative team have worked really well with their set design and lighting. Curtains and lights are used particularly well to highlight and mask various areas of the stage coupled with minimal props to illustrate scene changes from the millinery shop to train carriage to a hotel in Weston-Super-Mare. Subtle sound effects, such as the striking of a match, and the boiling of a kettle are coupled with instrumental music to enhance scenes and appear natural to the ear.
This play works because of the on-stage chemistry, where the script lacks a bit, the direction by Phoebe Barran and the performers have worked together to drive the play forward – I was in their world, feeling their pain and wanting a positive resolve for them. I really enjoyed this piece and I’m really glad that I had no idea who the inspiration behind the piece was until I was on the train checking google on the way home.
Review by Faye Stockley
Based on a true story, this tense thriller focuses on the serial fraudster, George Love, who encounters a naïve and vulnerable shop-girl, Adelaide Pinchin, in Edwardian London. What follows shocks them both as Love’s elaborate heist begins to unravel in frightening and unpredictable ways.
Leach’s suspenseful masterpiece has shocked audiences with its enthralling twists since its West End debut in 1997, with a later run off-Broadway. A gripping charade of predator and prey, the audience is drawn into a world dominated by the exploitation of insecurities and the seductive façade of charm.
Producer Chiswick Playhouse Productions
Director Phoebe Barran
Writer Karoline Leach
Cast Scarlett Brookes and Fred Perry
Designer Jessica Staton
Lighting Design Chris Mcdonnell
Sound Design David McSeveney
Production Manager Bryony Drury
Stage Manager Sophie Kohl
Twitter @ChiswickPlay, #TrystChiswick
2 Bath Road
London, W4 1LW