Sunday, 29 March 2015

'Closer' at the Donmar Warehouse

'Closer' is a new play for me but it was performed at the National Theatre in the late '90s and was made into a film in the early 00's. It's a four-header with two men and two women in a Mobius strip of love and lust, changing partners and never quite making it last. It's a bit of an oddity really and I'm not sure why it's been put on other than maybe it's just time for a revival?

It's the tale of the interweaving relationships of Dan a writer, Larry a doctor, Anna a photographer and Alice a stripper, all terribly middle class people (including Alice). Dan fancies Alice but then wants Anna when she takes his photo for a book cover. He tricks Larry into meeting Anna and they move in together. Then Larry shags a prostitute in New York while Anna starts an affair with Dan and the relationship ends. Dan ends things with Larry and she goes back to stripping and starts a relationship with Larry. Then Anna and Larry get back together and … and … you get the picture.

None of the characters come across as particularly likeable other than Anna who at least seems to be honest with herself and with others. The two men seem to be perpetually trying to score points, to trick their lovers into revealing something or get something. Not nice at all and deliberately cruel.

It's not a 'nice' play by any means but it was incredibly intense with explosions of temper followed by slyness as the men try to get their way. Rufus Sewell was good as Larry and I liked Nancy Carroll as Anna - at times she seemed to be the only adult on the stage. I didn't get on with the two younger characters. It's not a pleasant but it is gripping.

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