Theater: Pinter-Patter

BETRAYAL by Harold Pinter

Imagine an instant replay—not in slow motion, but in reverse. That is what Harold Pinter has done in depicting an adulterous love affair. It is over in the first of nine scenes, and it begins just before the curtain drops. This is a clever conceit. Pinter, as we have much past reason to know, cannot write a wrong line—or a dull pause. The key actors, Raul Julia, Blythe Banner and Roy Scheider, are marvels of professional finesse, and Peter Hall's direction is ticktock perfect in its precision.

Yet the net effect is that of watching a campaign that a...

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