Betrayal on Broadway

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Photo credit: Marc Brenner

Betrayal opens with three characters on stage, where they all remain during the entire 90 min piece. It is a psychological dance between the three, with each person tied to the other in a unique way.

This production is seeing its third revival in New York. Written by  Harold Pinter, the play chronicles the trajectory of a relationship from the present, and then dials back time to where it began.

And what began in this menage-a-trois involves two best friends, a married couple, and the wife and the husband’s best friend who fall deep into a long affair.

We witness the death of the marriage and the demise of the affair in a most civilized way . After all, they are British. The Brits are always so polite in all these messy kinds of things.

What is outstanding about this play is the language. The writing is so sharp and so real, and the direction on a bare stage reflects this efficiency of words as well.

Tom Hiddleston stars as Robert, the husband of Emma, the woman desired by both, played by Zawe Ashton, and Jerry, the best friend of Robert and the eventual lover of Emma, is performed by Charlie Cox.  Making his Broadway debut and doing a great job of some light humor is Eddie Arnold as the waiter.

As audience members, we are voyeurs in this psychological tango that sometimes can make you uncomfortable. No matter what, despite the hard issues these three face, somehow you are rooting for all of them to be okay.

Sometimes the pace of the acting is extra slow, clearly a convention used by director Jamie Lloyd.

As the three change their settings, one of the characters is usually standing for a long time. They all drink copious amounts of liquid too,  and I was thinking that at the end of the play, the actors likely need to run to the loo, and then relax in an easy chair.

Despite my whimsical observations, Betrayal is a masterpiece of writing, well done by this cast of accomplished actors. It runs on Broadway through December 8. Get details.

Saturday morning from 9:05-10 on WNYM-AM, online, Alexa and podcast.


  • Five-time Billboard Award-winning media personality Valerie Smaldone is a theatre, food, lifestyle and entertainment enthusiast. She is a celebrity interviewer, accomplished voice-over artist and actress. Recent appearances on episodic tv include Law and Order, Criminal Intent, The Other Two (on HBO Max), Tommy, Manifest and Blue Bloods. She is an audiobook narrator and producer. A live event emcee, moderator, and "Voice of God" at events and award ceremonies, Valerie has joined The Story Plant Entertainment Company and is currently working on a film and Broadway play. Visit her website at

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