Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.


“Intriguing but creaky”

Small west London pub theatre the Tabard has scored a coup in getting Natasha J Barnes for Tryst, its first in-house show after a refurbishment.

Barnes won rave reviews last year for her star-making performance as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl while Sheridan Smith took a break.

Here, Barnes is co-lead, playing Adelaide, a lonely, single woman working as a milliner in Edwardian London. She’s targeted by Fred Perry’s conman, George, who whisks her away for a fake marriage and a honeymoon fleecing. But the outcome isn’t what either of them expects.

Karoline Leach’s play – which debuted in the West End in 1997 – has the feel of an old-fashioned potboiler, flavoured with a hint of emancipation. There’s also something of the bleak faded quality of 1971 film 10 Rillington Place in Phoebe Barran’s chilly revival and Max Dorey’s abandoned-looking set, swathed in dustsheets.

This is a strange, slight play, intriguing in its twists but stilted by Adelaide and George’s frequent addresses to the audience. The ever-changing hues of Matt Drury’s lighting and David McSeveney’s ominous sound design create a queasy atmosphere. But they can’t hide the creaks of the plot contrivance on which the play is hinged.

Perry injects a tripping arrogance into his portrayal of George, while Barnes imbues Adelaide with an intelligence and desperate determination that pulls together an inconsistently written character. Their wary, damaged dance together elevates the material here, including a rug-pull ending that feels cheap.

Read The Stage’s interview with Natasha J Barnes

Related to this Review

Mel Brooks’ Young FrankensteinMel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein

Production Details
Production nameTryst
VenueTabard Theatre
StartsOctober 12, 2017
EndsNovember 5, 2017
Running time1hr 30mins
AuthorKaroline Leach
DirectorPhoebe Barran
Set designerMax Dorey
Lighting designerMatt Drury
Sound designerDave Mcseveny
CastFred Perry, Natasha J Barnes
Production managerBryony Drury, Zoe Mae
ProducerSightline For The Tabard Theatre Covent Garden Productions
VerdictNatasha J Barnes gives a strong performance in this intriguing but creaky psycho-drama
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Tom Wicker

Tom Wicker

Tom Wicker

Tom Wicker

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In