Harold Pinter Betrayal in London


Play by Harold Pinter. Emma has had a seven year affair with Jerry, her husband's best friend and best man. But it's over now... Beginning at the end of the affair, each scene of Harold Pinter's compelling masterpiece Betrayal moves backwards in time to the fateful moment when the infidelity begins. Accessible, elegant and menacing, this story of the ultimate love triangle is widely considered to be one of Pinter's finest works, a gripping study of adultery.

"I've always rather liked Jerry. To be honest, I've always liked him rather more than I've liked you. Maybe I should have had an affair with him myself."

Original London Production 1978 - Michael Gambon, Penelope Wilton and Daniel Massey

London Revival 1983 - Gary Raymond, Suzan Farmer and Edward Hardwicke

London Revival 1991 - Bill Nighy, Cheryl Campbell and Martin Shaw

London Revival 1998 - Douglas Hodge, Imogen Stubbs and Anthony Calf

Original West End London Production 2003 - Aden Gillett, Janie Dee and Hugo Speer

1st West End London Revival 2011 - Douglas Henshall, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ben Miles

2nd West End London Revival 2019 - Tom Hiddleston, Zawe Ashton and Charlie Cox

Original London Production 1978 - National Theatre

Previewed 10 November 1978, Opened 15 November 1978, Closed 8 September 1979 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre

The cast featured Michael Gambon as 'Jerry', Penelope Wilton as 'Emma', Daniel Massey as 'Robert', with Artro Morris as 'Waiter', and Glen Williams as 'Barman'.

Directed by Peter Hall with designs and lighting by John Bury, and sound by Ric Green.

London Revival 1983 - Greenwich Theatre

Previewed 26 April 1983, Opens 27 April 1983, Closed 28 May 1983 at the Greenwich Theatre

The cast featured Gary Raymond as 'Jerry', Suzan Farmer as 'Emma', Edward Hardwicke as 'Robert', and Robert Cotton as 'Waiter'.

Directed by Gary Raymond with designs by Peter Rice with lighting by Brian Harris.

London Revival 1991 - Almeida Theatre

Previewed 17 January 1991, Opened 22 January 1991, Closed 2 March 1991 at the Almeida Theatre

The cast featured Bill Nighy as 'Jerry', Cheryl Campbell as 'Emma', Martin Shaw as 'Robert', and Stefano Gressieux as 'Waiter'.

Directed by David Leveaux with designs by Mark Thompson, lighting by Rick Fisher, and sound by John Leonard and Alastair Goolden.

London Revival 1998 - National Theatre

Previewed 14 November 1998, Opened 24 November 1998, Closed 7 April 1999 (in repertory) at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre

The cast featured Douglas Hodge as 'Jerry', Imogen Stubbs as 'Emma', Anthony Calf as 'Robert', and Arturo Venegas as 'Waiter'.

Directed by Trevor Nunn with designs by Es Devlin, lighting by Rick Fisher, video by Chris Laing, music by Roger Eno and sound by Paul Groothuis.

Original West End London Production 2003 - Duchess Theatre

Previewed 1 October 2003, Opened 8 October 2003, Closed 31 January 2004 at the Duchess Theatre

The cast featured Aden Gillett as 'Jerry', Janie Dee as 'Emma', Hugo Speer as 'Robert', and James Supervia as 'Waiter'.

Directed by Peter Hall with designs by John Gunter, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Gregory Clarke.

1st West End London Revival 2011 - Harold Pinter Theatre

Previewed 27 May 2011, Opened 16 June 2011, Closed 20 August 2011 at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre)

The cast featured Douglas Henshall as 'Jerry', Kristin Scott Thomas as 'Emma', Ben Miles as 'Robert', and John Guerrasio as 'Waiter'.

Directed by Ian Rickson with sets by Jeremy Herbert, costumes by Edward K Gibbon, lighting by Johanna Town, music by Stephen Warbeck and sound by Ian Dickinson.

"This is Pinter for people who don't think they like Pinter. No political ranting, no wilful obscurity, no gnomic crypto-wisdoms: just a recognisable middle-class setting and a clear reason for the menacing pauses. Add to that the frisson of upmarket kiss-and-tell that hung around it ever since it was revealed, years after its 1978 opening, that it more or less told the story of Harold Pinter 's own adulterous affair with Joan Bakewell and that her husband - his friend - knew about it and kept shtoom. Then cast the magnetic, intelligently sultry Kristin Scott Thomas as the woman, Emma, get Ian Rickson to direct with forensic precision, and you have 90 minutes of slightly guilty pleasure - a vodka Martini of a play, with Scott Thomas as the thrillingly melting ice-cube and Ben Miles and Douglas Henshall as the cherry and umbrella." The Times

"Ian Rickson's stunning production charts every painful nuance... Part of its brilliance is that with each viewing, you discover new layers of deceit: when Emma reluctantly tells Jerry she's pregnant by her husband, what emerges most forcefully is that the wife feels she's been unfaithful to her lover. Miles's Robert, tightly coiled, is a revelation. He conceals his wounds and bitterness beneath a hard, tight poker face, but his banter is lethally barbed. He also suggests an almost masochistic pleasure in his secret knowledge of his wife's affair. Douglas Henshall's performance has a rawness made up of tenderness and soggy confusion. Kristin Scott Thomas is utterly bewitching. Her emotional candour takes your breath away, yet she always seems also to be withholding a tiny part of herself and so remains, forever, sphinx-like. This is a must-see production." The Mail on Sunday

"Robert, a publisher, is married to Emma. Jerry, a literary agent, and Robert's best man, is having an affair with Emma. There are children involved. There are literary contracts involved. There are emotional and financial compromises being made. It is one hell of a mess... Kristin Scott Thomas, the mistress of brittle, passionate understatement, is tailor-made for Pinter, and thrives in a role that demands both steely self-possession and tantalising vulnerability. Miles and Henshall are stags worthy of Pinter's sparring dialogue and bring a poker-faced wit to the author's stylised riffs and cross-talk... It's viciously funny and packs a bruising emotional punch." The Sunday Telegraph

Betrayal in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre previewed from 27 May 2011, opened on 16 June 2011 and closed on 20 August 2011.

2nd West End London Revival 2019 - Harold Pinter Theatre

Previewed 5 March 2019, Opened 13 March 2019, Closed 8 June 2019 at the Harold Pinter Theatre

A major revival of Harold Pinter's play Betrayal in London starring Tom Hiddleston

This production was originally scheduled to close on 1 June 2019, but due to ticket demand, it was extended by one week.

The cast features Tom Hiddleston as 'Robert', Zawe Ashton as 'Emma', and Charlie Cox as 'Jerry'.

Directed by Jamie Lloyd with designs by Soutra Gilmour, lighting by Jon Clark, and sound by Ben and Max Ringham.

When this production opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London in March 2019, Ann Treneman in the Times explained "Jamie Lloyd directs... and the production oozes confidence and style... The casting is exquisite and, despite Tom Hiddleston's undeniable star appeal, it does feel balanced... this production is particularly good at exposing the millefeuille of secrets and lies, set in a cloying London publishing world of lunches and squash, Venice and wine." Neil Norman in the Daily Express wrote that, "inspired by Harold Pinter's affair with the broadcaster Joan Bakewell, it is one of his most accessible and humane plays and this is the best production I have seen... Even if you don't like Pinter, this is unmissable." Holly Williams in the i newspaper hailed the "eye-catching casting, and they all deliver in Jamie Lloyd's diamond-sharp production." Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times praised "Jamie Lloyd's beautifully calibrated, dance-like production of Pinter's 1978 classic... superbly acted and again Lloyd pinpoints the playwright's ability, like Beckett, to create a liminal stage space that fuses physical and psychological worlds." Patrick Marmion in the Daily Mail commented that, "in so far as Pinter's play allows it, Tom Hiddleston is very good. The trouble is the play doesn't allow much... Zawe Ashton is more interesting as his wife Emma. She is a long, lithe, wriggling enigma torn between two men who give off little more than pheromones. Like Hiddleston, Charlie Cox is studiedly understated as her lover and husband's best man." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted that "the big draw in Jamie Lloyd's revival is an irresistibly magnetic Tom Hiddleston... it's Hiddleston's poise and sensitivity that impress the most," in a "surprising and unsparing interpretation, in which every detail counts." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph said that "in common with all his best work Tom Hiddleston displays a hypnotic sensitivity. Such is his physical and vocal control, that no matter how light the look or line, or indeed how loaded, everything registers... Funny, sharp, oddly nasty, and memorably anguished, Jamie Lloyd's Betrayal is fully faithful to a theatrical landmark." Michael Billington in the Guardian thought that "while Tom Hiddleston is the big draw and gives a fine performance, what is striking is the spartan purity of Jamie Lloyd’s production... the revelation of this excellent production is its reminder that betrayal is never-ending and that the one deceived forever haunts the imagination."

Tom Hiddleston is probably best known for playing the lead role of 'Jonathan Pine' in the UK BBC 1 television serial The Night Manager. His London theatre credits include the role of 'Eugene Lvov' in Michael Grandage's revival of Anton Chekhov's Ivanov at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2008; and the role of 'Cassio' in Michael Grandage's revival of Shakespeare's Othello at the Donmar Warehouse in 2007.

Zawe Ashton is probably best known for her role as 'Vod' in the UK Channel 4 television series Fresh Meat. Her London stage credits include the role of 'Claire' in Jamie Lloyd's revival of Jean Genet's The Maids at the Trafalgar Studios in 2016; and the role of 'Bianca' in Wilson Milam's revival of Shakespeare's Othello at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in 2007.

Charlie Cox's West End theatre credits include the role of 'Bill' in Jamie Lloyd's revival of Harold Pinter's The Collection at the Comedy Theatre in 2008; and the role of 'John' in Jamie Lloyd's revival of Harold Pinter's The Lover at the Comedy Theatre in 2008.

"It's a fiendishly clever adultery drama based on the married author's seven-year affair in the Sixties with the married broadcaster Joan Bakewell... Jamie Lloyd's production is precise and poetic - but with no set to speak of and zero sense of location. The pub, the restaurant, the flat where the lovers meet, the Venice hotel room where the affair is exposed - all takes place on a bare stage with a revolve. Actors hang about unemployed when they're meant to exit... While this all looks modishly stylised, what comes across is a sorrowful and often funny account of furtive love and its corrosive fallout. Tom Hiddleston is visibly haunted by a constant nag of pain. But the evening really belongs to Emma: it is the tall, terrific Zawe Ashton as this cool enchantress who steals the show." The Mail on Sunday

"Robert is a publisher whose wife Emma and best friend Jerry are having an affair. Pinter tells their story backwards, from the moment when Jerry discovers that Robert has known about them for years.The structure reveals lots of incidental ironies about the trio's deceit but little of greater significance. Director Jamie Lloyd keeps all three characters present throughout on a virtually bare set... His uncharacteristically austere approach serves to emphasise the thinness of the play. For a work about passion, it is extraordinarily cold, distanced both by its style and structure. The one heart-rending moment is Robert's discovery of Emma's adultery, beautifully played by Hiddleston. The rest resembles an elaborate charade, played as much by the playwright as his characters." The Sunday Express

Betrayal in London at the Harold Pinter Theatre previewed from 5 March 2019, opened on 13 March 2019, and closed on 8 June 2019