The Treatment starring Indira Varma & Julian Ovenden

WORTH A LOOK?: ***

WHERE: Almeida

WHEN: 27/4 to 10/6

How comfortable are we with the notion that no-one’s real life story is actually their own?

  • Read on for reasons including which Game Of Thrones star has much fun in this

It’s an idea explored in The Treatment, a 1993 play revived by Lyndsey Turner (Chimerica), where film producers enlist a writer to tell the story of Anne (Aisling Loftus, pictured above), a woman who suffers abuse at the hands of a mystery man who tapes her mouth.

Julian Ovenden and Indira Varma (Game of Thrones, Man, Superman at the National) have much fun with film producer couple Andrew and Jennifer who question Anne’s behaviour as they embellish her story for their own shallow ends.

They enlist down-on-his-luck writer Clifford (Ian Gelder) to capture her story for actor/producer John (Gary Beadle), who views the story as a means to pursue his own ends.

Most entertaining is Elloria Torchia who has great fun with Nicky, the overlooked receptionist who discovers the writer and goes on to star in the film as Anne, a role John describes as ‘more Anne than Anne’.

Elsewhere Andrew falls for Anne, his relationship disintegrates and we discover Anne’s mystery tormenter is actually her unstable husband Simon (Matthew Needham, also pictured above).

There’s even a blind cabbie (Ben Onukwe) thrown in for much-needed comic effect.

The problem with The Treatment is actually that it’s far less clever and engaging than it thinks it is. By the time of the final act, when a gun is in sight and the tension is ratcheted up, it’s a play that would have benefited from making one or more of its protagonists a little more sympathetic.

  • Picture by Marc Brenner via Facebook courtesy Almeida. Tickets
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