Haunted

Tuesday, September 27 th, 2016 at 00:09 am 

SYNOPSIS

“In marriage all is perceived, but much withheld,” says Jack Berry, one-half of the fractiously loving couple in “Haunted,” a slight but well-acted new play by Edna O’Brien. “Infinite, the book of secrets,” Jack continues, lost in his musings on the troublesome past in the play’s opening monologue. The director, Braham Murray, might advise Ms. Blethyn to ease up on the wordless whimpering. And I really wish the distraught Gladys was not reduced to fondling a doll, a rather obvious symbol of the child the couple lost early in their marriage. But the play offers both Ms. Blethyn and Mr. Buggy ample opportunity to display their well-matched gifts. Together they create a devastating portrait of a marriage gone sour that still retains touching hints of its former sweetness. — Charles Isherwood

JOY’S REVIEW

HAUNTED;  It’s always hard to review something where you really like the writing but don’t like the acting, or you really love the acting but don’t really like the writing. The latter is the case here. This is at least two out of the three actors at the top of their game. It’s the terrific Brenda Blethyn, who plays Mrs. Berry, and Niall Buggy, who plays Mr. Berry. They are both from the Royal Exchange Theater, which are a bunch of great Brits, and they play husband and wife and how they meet and the temptations of middle age. The plot itself — it’s in two acts. It would have been served better as a one act 90 minute and edited a little bit, but this is acting at its finest. You just sit there and are amazed with how much these people make you believe in these characters. So, for the acting I’d give it five stars, for the play itself maybe two. You really should go see it in spite of being a little bit irritated by the rather Victorian sentiments of Edna O’Brian . I wish someone had just taken a bit of a black pencil to it and edited it a little bit, made it a 90 minute, because I think you would have really had a full star gem here. But it’s worth seeing anyway for the acting alone. I’ll give the whole production three and a half stars.


JOY METER