I have been meaning to recommend 'Treats'
for weeks now. But it took an offer in yesterday's thelondonpaper
for £15 seats to remind me.
The story evolves around three very ordinary people bickering their way in and out of love. There is Anne (Billie Piper
), an indecisive woman who can't help falling for the wrong men; Dave (Kris Marshall
, who will forever be remembered as the geeky guy from 'Love Actually'), her dominating and abusive ex; and Anne's nice-but-dull current squeeze, Patrick (Laurence Fox
, fresh from 'Becoming Jane' fame).Christopher Hampton
wrote 'Treats' in 1975, apparently as a response to Ibsen's, 'A Doll's House', reasoning that there were as many women trapped in destructive relationships in the 1970s as there had been in Ibsen's 1870s. And while the theme is a bit tired, it does make points about our addictive and self-damaging habits.
The script is the high point including some great quips: Patrick is shamed as "a bore of international reputation." But it was Billie's character that I most enjoyed. Both in her own impassioned attack of her bully-boy ex: "Well, what's there to say? Except that for two and half years you bullied and terrorized me to such an extent I could hardly open my mouth. I didn't dare to have an opinion you hadn't approved about anything. My friends pitied me and your friends despised me." And in his attack of her obstinacy: "It's possible to disagree with someone about the ethics of non-violence without wanting to kick his face in."
As all three actors have come from television roles, it ends up playing the closest theatre gets to soap opera. But I would recommend it to anyone curious about self-damaging relationships: if, in fact, damaged is not our collective experience. One of the many things I pondered long after the curtain call.
For best available tickets @£15:
phone: 0870 890 1104
quote: thelondonpaper offer
Garrick Theatre, until 26 May