Tryst -- Twisting Victorian Thriller
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
BOB: Tryst which is now at TheaterWorks in Hartford is billed as a psychological thriller. But this play which we have seen twice before also pays homage to the penny dreadful novels of the 19th century.
KAREN: The plot tells the story of an attractive conman, George, who preys on lower middle class women who have a little money put aside. He charms them, marries them and then leaves with their life savings.
BOB: As the play opens, George -- played beautifully by Mark Shanahan -- tells the audience of his routine and describes how he has selected his next victim, Adelaide Pinchin.
KAREN: Adelaide makes hats for a shop but is not deemed attractive enough to work in the showroom. Adelaide is no longer young and has inherited 50 pounds and a gold and diamond brooch from her Aunt.
BOB: George goes about his game and by the end of the first act, they are wed. But once on the honeymoon at a seedy seaside town, things don't go quite according to plan.
KAREN: We don't want to give away too much of what happens, but let us just say that Adelaide has some issues that parallel those of George. She also proves quite feisty and eventually perceptive although that deserts her at a crucial moment.
BOB: You will be absorbed in the details and in the machinations that go on. At intermission we heard audience members speculating on what would happen.
KAREN: This cast -- Mark Shanahan as George and Andrea Maulella as Adelaide -- have done the roles many times before. In fact we saw them at a production of this at Westport Playhouse about four years ago.
BOB: Director Joe Brancato was the director then also. The experience with the roles shows in the deft performances.
KAREN: I really liked the set by Michael Schweikardt and the lighting by Martin E. Vreeland.
BOB: For first time viewers, Tryst is an absorbing piece with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. This production brings out both the psychological aspects and the thriller aspects.
KAREN: It is at TheaterWorks in Hartford through Sept. 9.
This review aired on WNHU-FM 88.7 fm and www.wnhu.net.