Salisbury Playhouse

Until September 23

Slick technology transforms the minimalist set in seconds, as furniture vanishes and moods are changed by subtle variations of lighting in Salisbury Playhouse production of Harold Pinter's clever play, Betrayal.

The drama, set in the 1970s, opens two years after the end of the affair that once consumed Emma (Kirsty Besterman) and Jerry (Robert Mountford). Their betrayal of Emma's husband Robert (Robert Hands), Jerry's best friend, is kindled by an all-consuming passion.

The progress of the affair is portrayed in reverse, and the play ends with a barrage of brilliant lights and escalating sound that encapsulate their irresistible initial attraction.

This contrasts vividly with the uneasy small talk of the opening scenario, when Emma and Jerry have drifted apart, but have found scant satisfaction elsewhere. There is an aura of pain and guilt, regret, and concern with business rather than with personal aspects of their lives.

They recognise that Robert, Emma's husband, had engaged in affairs for years, while she and Jerry were betraying him. Yet Jerry is incredulous to hear from Emma that she had confessed their relationship.

The audience is kept up to date with the progress of events by the appearance of years in lights above the stage. Pinter's economical script and the cast's expressive performances ensure a memorable evening. Donavan Winter, who is delightful as an Italian waiter, brings light relief to the sombre plot.

Betrayal is directed by Jo Newman, with design by Hannah Wolfe, lighting design by Dave Marsh and sound design and composition by Helen Skiers.