Tonight I was at the Newcastle Theatre Royal for the stage adaptation of the classic film Fatal Attraction and to ask the question what happens when desire becomes deadly? Kym Marsh takes on the iconic role of Alex Forrest, Oliver Farnworth her lover, Dan Gallagher and Susie Amy his wife, Beth.
One of the most iconic films of an era, Fatal Attraction was one of 1987’s highest grossing US Box Office release and it’s success was such that the film inspired a generation of psychosexual thrillers in the years that followed. If you’ve never seen it… here’s a brief overview. When happily married New York attorney Dan Gallagher, meets charming editor Alex Forrest on a night out in the city, they both commit to a night of passion they can’t take back. Dan returns home to his family and tries to forget the mistake he has made, but Alex has different ideas. Dan’s about to discover that love is a dangerous game.
It’s always hard to watch a play, after seeing a film and not compare. Especially one that has lasted the test of time and influenced so many others, but this was a chance to see it in a different light. Brought forward to the modern day, the play was brought to the audience with a fistbump to covid included. You can’t recreate the type of tension on stage than you see in films, and the same was seen here. However, we saw that Alex Forrest was dominating, obsessive and controlling of whom is played by Kym Marsh. This is a compliment to her acting, and portayal of the role. Kym oozed, charm, sexuality and shall we say the fatal attraction in the role. Beginning as confident and charming, slightly forward and flirttatious, you slowly see her become obsessive, angry and more of the jilted lover type The strongest character in the play for me.
Oliver Farnworth is convincing as gulity husband and the victim in all of this. Having an affair and then expecting no consequences. Some may say a typical man. He has to deal with the reaction to his actions when his weekend affair continues to haunt him and immerses itself into his work and personal life. Oliver narrates us through the play coming across as the victim. Something I’m not sure is needed though, and for some, may not have sympathy for, but I guess we are seeing it from his point of view, and so why would this be his fault! Susy Amy plays the devoted wife well as Beth Gallagher, and does well considering her role is limited and friend James played by John Macauley is sympathetic and helpful as a friend can be in the situation.
Tt=he staging of this play was well worked. On observation, a simple set, but well used. Intertwining between houses, work and a bar, they were able to clearly seperate and dictate the scenery. Projections aided this and clever sounding and music helped to set the scenes and mood. I particuarly liked the echoing of voices, the music when transitioning between scenes that let us imagine what was happening and .the projections of calls between characters on screen.
The play follows the script to the film closely throughout, and we still see the classic scenes including a certain boiling pot and missing pet. These are given to us in very understated ways but still impactful. I hadnt’ known the ending to the film had been changed by the studio either, so to see the end that James Dearden intended was not expected and for me threw a couple of curve balls into the mix and a sliding doors moment was interesting to see. In the programme, Dearden descibes this as a cautionary tale and it’s certainly that. You also come out wondering just who is the victim? Is Dan Gallagher a deserving recipient of his own actions? A man who wanted his cake and eat it? Is he lacking responsibilty and consequence? Or a man harrassed? Is Alex Forrest really as obsessive as she’s made out or just misunderstood or a woman who just wants to hold the man to account? In a world where mental health is now widely recognised, is she just crying out for help? After seeing the film and the play I’m surprised my thoughts changed from Dan Gallagher the victim, in the film to quite the opposite in the play.
See when desire becomes deadly this week! Fatal Attraction plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tue 25 – Sat 29 Jan 2022. Tickets are priced from £15.00 and can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.