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Reviews: Betrayal with John Simm

Ian D. Hall
2 June 2012

L.S. Media Rating *****
Cast: John Simm, Colin Tierney, Ruth Gemmell, Thomas Tinker.

…If that wasn’t enough for the audiences who no doubt have flocked to the theatre in droves so far this year, then by having one of the most bankable and notable actors of his time, John Simm within the cast will surely have the crowds salivating at the prospect. That’s not to say that he carries this play, as each of the four actors, John Simm, Colin Tierney, the delightful Ruth Gemmell and Thomas Tinker, who was making his Crucible debut, gave performances that were above and beyond the call of the occasion.

Betrayal is simply and utterly brilliant. …more…

The Observer
Clare Brennan
26 May 2012

Betrayal – review
Crucible, Sheffield

John Simm in Betrayal

John Simm heads an exceptional cast in Betrayal.

…By the final episode, which is the beginning of the story but the end of the play, the three actors have infused their now-youthful characters with glowingly exuberant energy. This impulsive moment is the source of all the subsequent betrayals that create the overly controlled dry husks of the early scenes. As Samuel Beckett wrote, in a letter to Pinter, it “wrings the heart”. A potentially mundane tale achieves mythic proportions. It takes an exceptional ensemble to exert the control necessary to pull this off. Tierney, Gemmell and Simm are exceptional. …more…

Derbyshire Times
Lynne Patrick
25 May 2012

Walking on broken glass

John Simm as Jerry in Betrayal.

John Simm as Jerry in Betrayal.

…John Simm’s Jerry is the man who has never quite grown up; he exudes a maverick charm clearly designed to get him what he wants. …more…

The Stage
Ben East
24 May 2012


…Simm deals with this conceit particularly well. At the start of the play his Jerry is so hesitant, so tired, the conversation with Emma is almost uncomfortably stilted. But watching him become happier and more vivacious as time goes backwards is hugely satisfying, and in the last scene there are echoes of his Hamlet performed on the same stage two years ago: a young man driven mad by love. …more…

Mail Online
Patrick Marmon
24 May 2012

Sardonic Simm steps back in time – again – for Betrayal
BETRAYAL (Crucible, Sheffield)
Verdict: Rueful Simm is back in the seventies

Rating: 3 Star Rating

Back in time: John Simm as Jerry

Back in time: John Simm as Jerry and Colin Tierney as Robert in Sheffield Theatres production of Betrayal

…From start to finish it alternates between glowing desire and shame-faced guilt, but it’s also sardonically funny.

Simm is in intense, weaselly form as he goes back to the Seventies following his time in TV’s Life On Mars.

It’s not an impersonation of Pinter, but his Jerry has the old boy’s famous twinkle, the one that dimmed to late-life rage at world leaders.

His Jerry is, moreover, a rueful stooge, always the last to know — last to know it’s over and last to know that Emma’s husband Robert (his best friend) has long known of their Kilburn love nest. …more…

The Star
David Dunn
24 May 2012

REVIEW: Betrayal, Crucible

…The chronology of the affair is turned on its head via numerous time-tagged scenes leaving Simm to do his best acting late on as he declares his feelings for Emma in a shambolic yet eloquent outburst.

The edginess and fluctuating dynamic the consequences of that moment creates is arguably at its most crystallized when the men do lunch years later, Robert having learned of the affair from a letter as Thomas Tinker’s poor waiter endures the tangible awkwardness. …more…

The Real Chrisparkle
The Realchrisparkle
22 May 2012

Review – Betrayal, Sheffield Crucible, 19th May 2012

Betrayal Programme

Betrayal Programme

…John Simm plays Jerry and he is superb. Born to play Pinter as he uses those pauses so naturally! Even while he is silent you just have to look at his eyes to see all the realisations, troubles, misunderstandings, and general horrors of life that his brain is absorbing before he next engages to speak. As the play proceeds, his sad and troubled world regresses back to a time of comfort, physical pleasure and, originally, excitable hope that this wonderful woman whom he adores, might – just might – adore him too. You can see the strains and worries gradually lift from his expression as he gets more youthful and more optimistic. That 1968 Jerry feels like a completely different person from 1977. He just nails every nuance of the character. …more…

Counterfeit Magazine
Rob Aldam
23 May 2012

Betrayal: Crucible Theatre, 17 May-9 June 2012

Betrayal: Crucible Theatre, 17 May-9 June 2012

…John Simm and Colin Tierney both return to the Crucible after their acclaimed turns in Hamlet back in 2010. They are joined by another familiar face in the shape of Ruth Gemmell, to form a glittering cast for Nick Bagnall’s staging of one of Nobel Prize-winner, Harold Pinter’s most celebrated works: Betrayal.

…As we regress through Jerry and Emma’s relationship, it becomes clear that they are both really seeking something quite different from the arrangement.

Betrayal is easily one of the best productions I’ve seen in the last few years; the design is mesmerising, the script is subtle yet ingenious, and the acting is pitch-perfect. I cannot recommend it too highly. …more…

The Guardian
Lyn Gardner
23 May 2012

Betrayal – review
Sheffield Crucible
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Heartbreaking ... John Simm gives a charged performance.

Heartbreaking … John Simm gives a charged performance.

…John Simm, as literary agent Jerry, is all the more heartbreaking in his boyish protestations of love for Emma, the wife of his best friend Robert, since we have seen the desolation to which the affair will lead. It’s especially moving when he talks of his loneliness in her absence. The construction of the piece is no gimmick, though: by giving the audience foresight, a conventional tale of marital infidelity among the chattering classes becomes as charged as a Greek tragedy.

…Simm handles things best, suggesting that, if anyone, he is the loser in the scenario: the adulterous lover is constantly an outsider, cuckolded in every way by his lover’s husband. The ironies multiply in a play that offers many subtle layers of betrayal. Memory itself is treacherous. …more…

Exeunt Magazine
John Murphy
23 May 2012


John Simm in Betrayal

A corrosive affair. Photo: Robert Day

…Nick Bagnell’s production benefits from an astoundingly good cast. John Simm, who 18 months ago made his Crucible debut in Hamlet, is incredibly compelling as Jerry; at first glimpse he’s beaten down by seven years of deception and, ultimately, rejection. By the time the production ends he’s almost a different man, full of zest and optimism. You can almost feel him becoming younger as time ticks on.

He’s well matched with Ruth Gemmell who captures Emma’s inner torment, whilst also managing the trick of seeming to grow visibly younger as time passes. …more…

Broadway World
Ruth Deller
22 May 2012

BWW Reviews: BETRAYAL, Crucible Theatre, May 22 2012

John Simm in Betrayal

John Simm in Betrayal

…It is the relationships between the characters, their dialogue and their silences and omissions -just as important as the dialogue, if not more so – which are the heart of the play, and it is here where the audience need to be won – and are. Simm, Tierney and Gemmell have strong chemistry on-stage (Simm and Tierney are reunited on the Crucible stage following 2010’s Hamlet), and Thomas Tinker has a scene-stealing cameo as an Italian waiter. …more…

The Telegraph
Charles Spencer
22 May 2012

Betrayal, Sheffield Crucible, review
Nick Bagnall’s new production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal creates a memorable sense of unease…

4 out of 5 stars
John Simm as Jerry in Betrayal

John Simm as Jerry in Sheffield Theatres production of Betrayal. Photo: Robert Day

…John Simm brings an engaging boyish quality to Jerry as well as sudden moments of panic and guilt.

He is particularly good in the scene when he first drunkenly declares his love to Emma which, with the reverse time sequence, comes right at the end of the play. There is a sense of wonder, passion and hope here that seems almost unbearably painful after the decay of love and good faith we have witnessed in the course of this wonderfully gripping and perceptive drama. …more…

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