Based on the classic 1987 Paramount Pictures Corporation motion picture starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close, James Dearden (who also wrote the screenplay) has adapted the definitive movie thriller into a new stage play.
Fatal Attraction tells the story of lawyer Dan Gallagher (Oliver Farnworth), who has a weekend affair with the seductive Alex Forrest (Kym Marsh) after meeting in a bar while his wife, Beth (Susie Amy) and daughter are out of town. While initially perceiving it to be a short fling and wanting to return to his normal life, he soon discovers that Alex isn’t willing to let him go…
The show is set through the eyes of the main protagonist – Dan – and Oliver Farnworth is on stage throughout. I had the opportunity to chat with Oliver about his experiences in the show, and he’s a strong lead, bringing the audience into his world through the use of narration and impressive energy and passion (and authentic New York accent!). Supported by Susie Amy in the role of faithful and trusting wife, Beth, Beth’s mother Joan (Anita Booth) and best friend Jimmy (John Macauley), Farnworth’s portrayal was charismatic to the point where I almost felt sorry for Dan as his life begins to fall apart… almost.
Kym Marsh does a wonderful job in the role of Alex, going from smart and sassy to manic and disturbed, and there are moments of rather uncomfortable viewing as we watch Alex spiral into manipulative and obsessive behaviour as her desperation for Dan’s attention grows.
The set is simple and effective, with two large panels comprised of sliding sections and the use of projections and minor props to denote different locations. I particularly liked the use of the music, from pulsing electronics to varying arrangements of Madame Butterfly.
The show is unafraid to tackle difficult themes and does indeed stay fairly true to the movie plot, adding in an unexpected series of twists at the end (which, in my opinion at least, was a better narrative that leaves unanswered questions). However, while the notoriety of the movie certainly helps with attracting a stage audience, I wasn’t sure whether this also proved detrimental in some scenes. The infamous ‘bunny boiler’ scene is renowned for being terrifying and graphic, but on stage it provoked a comical response from the audience and it wasn’t entirely clear if this was the intention.
However, if you love the movie, you’ll love the show!
Fatal Attraction is on stage at The Alexandra Theatre from Tuesday 1st March until Saturday 5th March. Purchase your tickets here.