Saturday 22 February 2014

The Mistress Contract, Royal Court

This is just a quick review of the play I went to see last week at the Royal Court, The Mistress Contract.

The play's writer Abi Morgan is best know for her screenplays which include The Iron Lady, The Hour series and Shame and, like in all of these movies, The Mistress Contract focuses on the complexity of relationships. At 90-minute without an interval, the play tells of a American couple, simply referred to as He and She, who begin an affair, He being a married man. The affair starts in the 1970s and lasts for over thirty years. But this isn't just any affair; before they go through with it, She writes up a contract for Him to sign, agreeing that in return for "mistress services", He will provide her with a steady income and a home. She also tapes their conversations throughout this period, with the hope of one day publishing their story.

For a play with just two people and one set, The Mistress Contract is still lively and entertaining. Actors Saskia Reeves and Danny Webb have great chemistry, and throw the (usually) fiery conversation to and fro as if they have been together for decades. I loved how they, and their surroundings, subtly age. A change of costume or the swapping of the typewriter for a fax machine is enough.

For me though, the most enjoyable part of the play was actually in the dying moments where it's revealed that this story is based on a real couple, now 88 and 93. Although a little heavy in content at times, The Mistress Contract was well-acted and portrayed a very interesting concept. Running until 22nd March.

No comments:

Post a Comment