Thursday 6 August 2009

Deceptions - Receptions 5

Reviewer: Lynne Milford
June 2009

What A Tangled Web These Actors Weave
Never has a name been more suited to a play. At the outset of Deceptions, the action starts with psychiatrist Julia Smythe (Michelle Collins) holding a session with a client, who gives his name as Adrian Wainwright (Rupert Hill).

The audience is quickly drawn into the first scene, which is full of humour and mild sexual innuendo - perhaps not suitable for the easily offended.

But the play soon takes a darker turn and the deceptions become more and more elaborate.
I half-spotted part of the ending, but I was delighted to find I was completely wrong about the final deception.

It was a fantastic play with some superb acting by both leads - my friend was amazed they managed to carry the whole play with only the two of them.

Wednesday’s performance was the first in a national tour, but was almost seamless and clearly very well rehearsed.

The few slips that happened seemed to be part of normal conversation and didn’t draw the audience’s attention.

Both actors certainly proved their worth in performing comedy and the slightly darker, more dramatic scenes in the play.

My friend and I were delighted with the glimpse of Rupert Hill’s naked buttocks and were disappointed they didn’t reappear later in the play.

All in all, a great performance of a very well written and thought out play - my friend summed it up perfectly with the words “a good night out”

Reviewer: Sarah Hardy
14th July 2009

If you like a twisting and turning bit of drama this is for you. I wasn’t too sure what was going on at times (no surprise there, I know!) but the plot did weave itself round and round as the two central characters tried to outwit each other.

This great little drama sees analyst Julia Smythe, convincingly played by Michelle Collins, who you’ll remember from telly’s EastEnders as scarlet woman Cindy Beale, who receives an interesting client played by Rupert Hill, who was recently Danny (sic) Baldwin in Coronation Street.

He had an axe to grind and she had to sort him out that’s about all I can reveal. You certainly won’t guess how it all turns out, but there’s also an older women, younger guy thing going on to (sic). And that’s before I mention bare bums!

It’s always interesting to see soap stars in action in a “real” piece as you do wonder - can they actually act then? And the answer here, thankfully, is yes. Two hander plays are tough going as there’s nowhere for anyone to hide, but the pair keep the suspense and credibility going right to the end.

The play is written by Paul Wheeler who mainly writes for TV, and this, perhaps, shows. It would certainly sit well on the small screen where you could make more of the tension and the inner turmoil and confusion experienced by the duo.

Reviewer: Mike Jarvis
28th July 2009

A Polished Performance Which Captivates To End
WHAT do you get when two of the UK's most popular television stars come together on stage?

Answer – a composed, polished performance that leaves you captivated until the very end.

Deceptions, starring former Eastenders' baddie Michelle Collins (who played Cindy Beale for 12 years) and Rupert Hill (best known for his role as Jamie Baldwin in Coronation Street) runs at the Hall for Cornwall until August 1.

The play is described as a "thriller" – but for me the words 'tense' and 'comedy' are a more appropriate description.

Starring only two characters, Deceptions focuses on the lives of psychiatrist Julia Smythe (Michelle Collins) and compulsive liar Adrian Wainwright (Rupert Hill).

The stylish Miss Smythe is left baffled when a young man walks into her office and feeds her extravagant lies about his personal and family life, seemingly for a bit of fun.

But as the two characters become engrossed in each other's lives, they continue their battle of wills – toying for the upper hand in a game of cat and mouse.

However, it soon becomes apparent that these two have far more skeletons in their cupboards than you would ever have believed.

It all comes together in a scintillating ending that left many audience members on their feet.

Rupert Hill is brilliant as the spoilt brat of a rich-kid family and Michelle Collins is every inch the sophisticated professional who we are meant to believe – with a weakness and a past she would rather forget.

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