Ever since I watched the movie “Closer” starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts in 2004, I’ve had this lingering desire to watch the original Patrick Marber play that inspired the film. This weekend at the Donmar Warehouse theater my wish was fulfilled. The play is a study of modern day dysfunctional relationships where sexual promiscuity obliterates long lasting romantic involvement. It tells the tale of women erratically trying to establish meaningful long-term emotional connections with men who pine only for immediate sexual gratification, often through lies and deceit. Whereas Paul defines the essence of love in Corinthians, Patrick Marber shows us exactly what love is not, a cautionary lesson in its own right.
In terms of the cast, Rachel Redford deserves plaudits for her performance as Alice Ayres, my favorite character. Her Alice is naiveté, vulnerability, wit, honesty and strength, all in equal measures. I still prefer Natalie Portman’s portrayal, but then again the movie outshines the play in every respect.
PS - Although the dialogue sometimes borders on the eschatological, there are several memorable lines and one exchange in particular has reverberated in my mind:
Dan: Tell me, what do you want?
Alice: I want to be loved.
Dan: That’s all you want?
Alice: It’s a big want…