Louise Redknapp, Oliver Farnworth & Susie Amy – stage adaptation of the iconic movie Fatal Attraction
After thirty four years Fatal attraction has lost none of its impact. Although I had seen the Oscar nominated movie starring Glenn Close & Michael Douglas several times and I knew what was to come, I was still sitting on the edge of my seat for much of the evening as the drama unfolded.
One of the most iconic films of the era, Fatal Attraction was one of 1987’s highest grossing US Box Office releases, securing six major Oscar nominations at the following year’s Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Glenn Close’s mesmerising depiction of urbane sophisticate Alex Forrest. Fatal Attraction’s success was such that the film inspired a generation of psychosexual thrillers in the years that followed.
Most readers will remember the plot! Happily married Manhattan attorney Dan Gallagher (Oliver Farnworth) meets singleton Alex Forrest (Susie Amy) on a night out whilst his wife Beth (Louise Redknapp) & child are away for the weekend. The couple enjoy a meal then become involved in a night of passion. A one night stand then becomes a weekend and events begin to escalate very quickly. Dan soon discovers that his actions have consequences and very soon begins to regret his decision as Alex begins to bombard him with phone calls & visits to his home & office. References to WhatsApp, Zoom & Video calls brings the story right up to date! Alex tells him she has only one rule; you play fair with me and I’ll play fair with you!
If you have seen the movie, you will probably remember that this was the film that coined the phrase “Bunny Boiler”. If you have not seen the film or know the story I will not ruin the event for you.
The musical direction and intermittent sounds throughout the scenes help build the unfolding events to a peak, at one point the loud penetrating thump of what can only be described as a heartbeat, helped increase and build the tension that everyone in the auditorium was beginning to feel. It was fast paced and I believed every word that was spoken by the cast. I genuinely felt emotionally invested in the characters and the outcome. The projections on the back wall of the stage helped switch swiftly across the different locations from office, city bar, home and apartments, it worked really well.
I can just about remember feeling some sympathy for Dan all those years ago but now along with the world I have got older and wiser and times have changed, my sympathies began to lie with the tormented soul that is Alex. The audience will have left the theatre discussing what they had just witnessed and perhaps questioning what had just happened? Had Dan taken advantage of Alex at a low point in her life or had Alex become the aggressor? As writer James Dearden clearly points out in the programme notes, “the lines are blurred”.
Society has changed a great deal over the last thirty years, our attitudes to women and a more enlightened awareness of mental health issues will make us question more thoughtfully our response to the actions of both Alex & Dan. In the movie Alex was portrayed as a crazy individual who was clearly obsessed & possessive after a casual weekend fling whilst Dan was being haunted by the irrational and thoughtless actions of Alex. Whilst accepting no excuses for her behaviour, this production now reflects very much the original script with Alex deserving of our sympathy. This screen play has gone a long way to help redress the balance a little in her favour, there are clearly no longer villains or heroes, no right or wrong, only different shades of grey!
Repeating the beginning of the play at the conclusion was a reflective moment. How different our own lives would have been if I had not visited the pub that evening or missed that bus? Dan had simply accepted an invitation to meet a friend for a drink and his whole life & for many close to him had changed so dramatically, because of that one decision!
There were some excellent performances throughout but for me Susie Amy as Alex Forrest stole the show. There were a number of scenes which required deep levels of emotion and heartache. I was convinced! Oliver Farnworth also excelled as the often angry, frustrated and tortured Dan Gallagher. They were an effective team, working very well together. Louise Redknapp as Beth played her part very well but she was often overshadowed by the two main characters in the evolving story. If you loved the movie you must get along and see this production. It is an edge of your seat experience!
The production stars Footballer’s Wives siren Susie Amy as the iconic Alex Forrest, soap star favourite Oliver Farnworth (Coronation Street) as Dan Gallagher and celebrated TV talent and performer Louise Redknapp (Eternal, Strictly Come Dancing, Cabaret, 9 to 5) as Beth Gallagher.
Fatal Attraction takes to the Derngate stage until Saturday 2 April, at 7.30pm, with matinees at 2.30pm on Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets – priced from £13* – can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at www.royalandderngate.co.uk.