REVIEW: Closer, University Drama Studio

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SuTCo’s latest offering is a mixture of tragedy and melodrama with a smattering of comedy.

Dan becomes involved with Alice after he accompanies her to hospital following a car accident.

He later makes a pass at Anna who is photographing him to publicise his book about Alice’s life.

In an outrageous bit of comedy, Dan, poses as Anna to have Internet sex with Larry, the dermatologist who briefly examined Alice after her accident. There is more than a bit of fruity language but it is in context and very, very funny.

Deception then begins as one couple cheats on the other with each other. Confessions are made and some pretty nasty language is used. Sexual tension is replaced by growing negativity and power struggles. Evidence of their maladjusted relationships is violence, anger, confusion, neediness and fluctuating moods.

Patrick Marber’s narrative is very powerful. As the characters change so do our feelings towards them.

In explaining dysfunctional relationships, Anna wisely observes that women reveal their baggage early on, whilst men deny they have any at all until its inevitable, eventual disclosure.

No happy endings here I’m afraid. The melodrama culminates in a coincidental tragedy.

The acting is impeccable from all players. Todd Baker plays Dan, a cynical obituary writer who appears to be hiding his grief over losing his father. He realises too late that he is in love with needy Alice, played by Danielle Patrick. Anna Rowlands as Anna and Paul Hilliar as Larry complete the quartet of moving performances.

Stephen Grigg