Opening a new season last week, The Garrick presented a play that reveals a web of manipulation, undercurrents of betrayal and illicit passions hidden in murky shadows.
Dangerous Corner, by J.B. Priestley, although not received well initially when first staged in the 1930s, later went on to achieve higher acclaim in spite of Priestley’s own misgivings about its merit.
The play was a new endeavour for Priestly, being his first solo project. It was also one that in referencing bisexuality and drug addiction, and alluding to eroticism in art, was rather startling for the period: initiated by one simple question, a torrent of emotion, secrecy and deception is revealed, changing the lives of the characters profoundly. It is a play which demands skillful performances from all, for the interactions are often rapid, emotional and intense, and this production was superbly cast, handling copious dialogue with ease and clarity.
The first night was slick, beautifully staged with some exquisite costumes and attention to detail (one slight gripe would be a centrally placed buffet that, being at the very front of the stage, forced the characters seated on it to have their backs to the audience - an occasional unwanted distraction).
Lighting was effective, enhancing the performances on stage wonderfully.
Jonathan Pye, Sophie Greenwood were both superb throughout, complemented by Laura Chadwick, Matt Dickinson, Simon Bailey, Susan Mullen and Katy Taylor.
The entire cast demonstrated huge dedication to both the script and each other, delivering with sincerity the emotional punches and occasional quips with professionalism and panache.
One thing to note is Matt Dickinson joining the cast late in the rehearsal period; this was barely noticeable.
The play ends with a clever, witty and thought-provoking twist.