Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Seduction review at Barons Court Theatre London

This new and very loosely based adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s 19th century drama La Ronde is enjoyable, amusing and well-paced but its modern, non-judgemental approach means the play loses much of its impact.

American author Jack Heifner keeps the structure, a chain of seduction in which a character from a sexual encounter in one scene then has a liasion with a new partner in the next scene and so on. However, he updates the characters and making them all gay so the soldier becomes a sailor, naturally, and the aristocrat a Hollywood producer.

This production offers plenty of attractive, naked torsos but not a particularly gay interpretation. Instead, director Tim McArthur displays a more universal interest in the nature of seduction itself and the ways in which people obtain casual sex. Techniques range from persuasion, payment, predatory stalking and – in one amusing scene involving a very camp writer (Lewis Morton) and actor (Richard Gee) – by what can only be described as talking artistic bollocks.

The five strong cast, taking two roles each, mainly do the script justice. Gareth Watkins is good as a guilt-wracked professor hesitantly cheating on his partner while designer James Galloway’s all-purpose white boxes double-up as beds, tables and chairs.

The script touches on the drawbacks of promiscuity but Schnitzler’s original drew much of its strength from its critique of a society sated with pleasure. Take that away and you are left with the suggestion that impersonal sex with strangers is briefly exhilarating but pretty meaningless, a message already on display in most inner-city bars every weekend.

Production Information

Barons Court Theatre, London , November 9-December 5

Jack Heifner
Tim McArthur
Peter Bull and Juhani Naukkarinen
Cast includes
Richard Gee, Phil Price, Peter Sundby, Lewis Morton
Running time
1hr 15mins
Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price