Fatal Atrocity

Fatal Atrocity

D and I made our annual pilgrimage to the West End last week to catch the stage adaptation of iconic 80′s psycho drama Fatal Attraction. I mean, who doesn’t love that film, I mused whilst purchasing some not so budget-friendly Row P center stall seats. I figured even it’s rubbish, it’ll still be good. Ignoring the fabulously retro, gloriously antiquated, completely UN-PC sexual politics at play, it’s a cracking story and so one might think kinda difficult to butcher, right? Wrong. Very wrong.

The opening scene flashes forward to our anti-hero, married cad and infidel Dan Gallagher shouting at the audience in very literal, cartoonish agony lamenting his misfortune at having landed a nutcase for a mistress. Woe is him. I wasn’t quite getting it; one sideways glance to D and I see he wasn’t quite getting it either. Was this a joke? No. It was a preview of the next two and a half hours of my life that I’ll never get back, trapped in my pricey center stall seats. Natascha McElhone stars as said unhinged mistress, Kristin Davis the unsuspecting, duped wife and the other guy I can’t recall and might otherwise forget but for his hammy delivery and stilted performance. I thought McElhone was decent but underwhelming as the crazed, myopic singleton ensnaring her wedlocked conquest for a weekend of unbridled passion (which was anything but– I had to stifle a laugh mid-faked orgasm). D thought she was ok, but the harsh american accent grated. Kristin Davis’ role was inconsequential, more or less her alter-ego Charlotte York but less dimensional. The other guy, well, with minimal stage presence and exaggerated, effeminate mannerisms– alpha male he was not. It didn’t help the costume department dressed him in faded jeans, wrinkled button-downs and Converse. He looked like an Inbetweener. Overall, the pacing was slow, dialogue forced (and in some instances flubbed) and fight scenes comical.

Compounding things our hero Dan was constantly interrupting the story, breaking the “fourth wall” with pithy, literal monologues, as though he needed to bring the the audience up to speed, you know, for those who perhaps weren’t quite getting it.  Hmm. Well, I’d take a gander that 99.9% of the audience was pretty clued up on the plot, so why the need to stop and tell us the story, on top of telling us the story was downright bizarre.

Anyway, at the end the cast limped out for an apologetic curtain call. Seriously, it felt as if even they knew they weren’t that good. “Sorry folks, we know you paid a lot of money, but you saw a few moderately famous faces on stage, right?”

I know, I know, who the hell am I to criticise (well, other than a generous fee-paying theatre-goer)? But I couldn’t help thinking– Was that it? Is this the best the West End has to offer?? These were professionals, experienced thespians (not to mention director), if you will, and this is the best they could do? It made me genuinely sorry for all those other talented actors pounding the pavement unable to get a look in, passed over for established names that might draw an audience, but are otherwise unable to hold them.

So anyway, to to bring this back to me (natch), it made me feel a bit better about all my own rejections. Not that I’m saying I’m talented, just I am putting all my lines out there and coming back empty. Oh well. Still early days. But I can’t say the evening was a total waste, the ice cream was good.

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