This gripping drama has plenty of twists and turns that keep the audience enthralled from beginning to end.
Appearances can be deceptive as audiences find out in Karoline Leach’s slow burning thriller that keeps audiences guessing right until the horrific ending, beautifully built up in Phoebe Barran’s intimate production.
Adelaide is a hardworking shop girl who is insecure and vulnerable, never imagining that she would attract the attention of George – a charming gentleman like character, who has a few hidden secrets of his own. After a whirlwind romance, it soon becomes clear that everything is not as it seems.
What follows almost plays out like a dance with each character trying to suss each other out. Adelaide, while at the beginning can come across as quite naive and unconfident, worried about her weight and appearance soon blossoms into a confident woman as she begins to understand that everything isn’t as it appears. In contrast, George while always charming there is an underlying menace that threatens to emerge constantly.
It is very much down to Natasha Barnes and Fred Perry that the audience are entirely invested into the production. Barnes delivering a charming, vulnerable Adelaide but is able to contrast this nicely with a will of iron that suggests she is no fool as her confrontation with George proves. Meanwhile, Fred Perry is suitably charming and nasty as George, particularly when he uses Adelaide’s vulnerability to get what he wants, never overplaying the character – but delivers with perfect balance that makes the audience warm to him as much as they are repulsed by him.
There is a lovely pacing to Phoebe Barran’s production, keeping things moving nicely before exploding at just the right moment to deliver a shock – despite some of the conversation being a little bit all over the place and not really driving the story forward.
However, there are some lovely moments of humour in the script which interlink with the story well and allow the characters to build a (slightly) sturdier foundation for a relationship as well as showcasing their vulnerabilities.
Max Dorey ‘s confined set adds to the claustrophobic atmosphere – particularly during the more confrontational moments of the conversation, adding a heightened sense of drama. Meanwhile,Matt Drury’s haunting lighting never lets the audience forget that something intense is about to take place.
Overall, while it takes the ‘thriller’ element of the story to come through, Tryst is an engaging and atmospheric production with two strong performances guiding the audience through the many twists and turns effectively.
Tryst continues to play at the Tabard Theatre until the 5th November. For more information and to book tickets visit: http://tabardtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/tryst/