Closer is one of my favourite plays, so perhaps this review will be entirely biased but there is something incredibly powerful about Patrick Marber’s play which focuses on sex, lies and love. Perhaps the play has lost some of its shock factor in comparison to its 1997 premiere but the emotional dance between the four characters is always riveting – and this production is entirely captivating.
We are first introduced to Alice and Dan when they are in A&E – Dan, an obituaries writer and seemingly nice-guy and Alice, a stripper (who is very forward in her pursuit of Dan.) The connection between the two is instantaneous, and actually the reason for Alice ending up in A&E. It is there that she encounters Larry, a dermatologist (played by Rufus Sewell)
Cut to another scene and we are introduced to Anna – a photographer with whom Dan seems to instantly fall in love with – almost unbelievably, but similar to the way he fell for Alice. Alice arrives and warns Anna off. Dan sulks and pretends to be Anna in a sex chat room, where he talks with Larry. Anna and Larry meet, a connection between them develops.
From this point onwards couples are created, affairs occur between the quartet, couples are destroyed, new couples are formed, affairs happen again and this dance continues for the duration of the play.
The language for me is the most important part; it’s beautiful and brutal – much like the sexual encounters throughout. Each character is explored in ways that dissect them, stripping them of any shield or mystery they may have held initially.
The Donmar Warehouse in London is renowned for excellent productions, and the set design is minimal and interlocks neatly, both symbolising and drawing attention to the language and the relationships between the characters.