Dangerous Obsession? Don’t expect me to give away what will happen! You really need to go to the Apollo Theatre to see this amazing play to find out just how wonderful it is! And be prepared for a real thriller!
When John knocks at the conservatory window of her comfortable Georgian house in the Home Counties wanting to speak to her, Sally doesn’t remember meeting him and his wife at a conference. She turns him away, convinced he’s just some door-to-door sales person.
But he’s going to be much more than that. When he perseveres and reminds her of that evening out and dancing with her, she begins to remember, begins to give him time. More conversation, and she invites him in. More, and he’s sitting talking and having a drink with her. She might have remembered more about that evening, she says, if she hadn’t drunk quite so much wine! “I think I’ll have another drink now. Would you like another?” she asks. Now she’s doing it again! But why is John here?
N J Crisp who wrote this play was a master at building tension, adept at writing compulsive psychological thrillers, and creative plots to die for! The play was a product of the 1980s. Nobody had a mobile phone. Nobody had personal computers. People wrote letters, used landline telephones. If you lived the comfortable high life, like we can see Sally and her husband Mark do, like them you might even have had intruder alarms, but those were connected by old wiring, and that could be disconnected. The stage set shows us their lifestyle – a huge glass roofed conservatory with expensive furniture, and somewhere beside it a swimming pool, since Sally enters from sunbathing beside that. Is John after their money perhaps? He says he wants to talk to Mark, Sally’s husband who works ‘in the City’.
Mark when he arrives home couldn’t be less interested in a business conversation. Nevertheless, the conversation continues, and what it’s really about is truth and lies. In an extraordinary unravelling of intrigue and evidence, John’s real reason for visiting comes to the boil – and what a storyline unfolds. It is said people can cope with deceit. It’s truth they find difficult to handle.
The play is superbly directed by Glenys Lloyd-Williams, and beautifully staged. This conservatory setting sheds light on the proceedings beautifully.
Just three actors are on the stage almost constantly.
John: the way Jason Harris makes us see this central character thinking and manoeuvring and remembering but still keeping us guessing is superb. We can even see how so much of what his character does has been very carefully planned.
Sally is beautifully played by Holly Squires. She makes Sally’s understanding shine through, and her acceptance of lies, and of despair. We share Sally’s anger and her fear.
Mark, Sally’s husband is played well by Scott Walsh. Little movements while he listens to John’s words show his thoughts, even though by nature this character is not easily put down. Will Mark surrender to the truth?
We are so lucky on the Isle of Wight to see such a good presentation, and such good acting – and to witness such a compulsive psychological thriller. This production of Dangerous Obsession at the Apollo is too good to miss!
Reviewed by Felicity Fair Thompson
Photography by Ian Johnston and Paul Jennings
The run continues at the Apollo Theatre from Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th May. Get you tickets here asap to avoid disappointment