Fatal Attraction was the movie of 1987. An high octane thriller with some well timed shocks and a stellar cast, it wowed audiences across the globe. Now it has been turned into a chilling, but very stylish stage play that opened in Birmingham at The Alexandra Theatre last night. I was intrigued to see how it would transfer to the stage, but am happy to report that it is seriously good, with a knockout cast who deliver all the right blows, a brilliant set which allows the story to move from office buildings in New York to deep in the countryside, and an alternative ending that is far more effective than the shock fest of the film.
For those who have never seen the film (where have you been?) I will recap the story. Dan Gallagher, left alone for the weekend whilst his wife goes to look at a property in the country. meets a very attractive woman, Alex Forrest, whilst having a drink in a new bar in town with his friend. One thing leads to another and they have a one night stand, which leads to another the following night. But at the end of the second night, when Dan tries to leave, Alex cuts her wrists, an act which horrifies Dan, who starts to realise that sleeping with Alex could be the worst mistake he has ever made, particularly as she has his business card with all his contact details on. When Alex starts to phone incessantly, and turns up at his workplace, he realises he is in deep trouble, and then she announces she is pregnant. What happens next is both brutal and shocking, not least for those with a fondness for white rabbits…
The cast is uniformly very good. Oliver Farnworth (so good in The Girl on the Train) is a strong lead as Dan. He is in almost every scene and acts as our narrator, and portrays the change from a happy go lucky guy to an erratic, nervous man living on his nerves brilliantly. He has amazing chemistry with the stunning Kym Marsh, who plays Alex perfectly, able to convey both menace and emotional vulnerability with aplomb. Their sexual scenes are tastefully handled, but it is their final scene that sticks with you, showing how quickly passion can turn to absolute hatred.
Susie Amy is also impressive as wife Beth. She is immensely likeable as the warm heart of the play, an innocent victim, but one not prepared to be a victim, as she takes control, and delivers a sharp right hook to her cheating husband.
The staging of the play is very well done. The original movie took place in 1987, but the play is updated to show video and Whatsapp calls which help to build tension and keep the action flowing. The set uses graphics as a backdrop which really allow you to feel like you are in New York, or in a hot new wine bar, it is very cleverly done.
Fatal Attraction is stylish and shocking, a modern day morality story with a twist in its tail.
The Alexandra, Birmingham
Tue 1 Mar – Sat 5 Mar 2022
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