The Lover - Manor Pavilion

PUBLISHED: 13:48 15 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:42 15 June 2010

IN 1958 Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter said: There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false, it can be both true and false."

IN 1958 Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter said: "There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false, it can be both true and false."After watching the celebrated writer's one-act play The Lover, I can see what he means...Acted to perfection by Jack Hulland (Richard) and Katherine Senior (Sarah), this flawless farce lit up the stage at Sidmouth's Manor Pavilion, almost immediately posing the question: is there a 'lover' at all?In the false sense, there was. In the true sense, there wasn't.Presented by Creative Cow and directed by Amanda Knott, The Lover unravels a make-believe love triangle, dreamt up by a bored, married couple.Set in 1963, the businessman and his stay-at-home wife use their detached house near Windsor as a setting for 'adultery'.In a very trite, civilised manner, Richard asks Sarah: "Is your lover visiting today?" He is more than under-standing when she replies "Yes". Just when the audience starts to wonder if the 'lover' is real, Jonathan Parish makes a brief appearance - as a milkman!Titivated for just a few seconds, the audience is soon left in no doubt that the 'affair' is nothing more than a game.The 'game' backfires, how-ever, when Richard, who insists he's having a fling with "a whore", announces he wants to end the liaison. Middle class Sarah is convinced she's having an affair with a rough-and-ready gardener. Worryingly for her, Richard breaks into character when the game is supposedly over.Accents chopping and changing to suit their alter egos, the cast displayed the kind of skills that keep audiences truly captivated.With their talents clearly honed to a very high level, this was a professional show with a capital 'P'.Gripping from curtain-up, the plot had my full attention from start to finish. I wasn't tempted to fidget, or let my attentions wander, not for a split second.And that's saying something!

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