This a pretty low-key move for Loki.
Tom Hiddleston, who plays the pale Marvel villain on-screen, is making his Broadway debut in an intimate, no-fuss revival of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal,” which opened Thursday night.
No #Hiddlebum is bared here, as it famously was on TV’s “The Night Manager,” but boy, can this beanstalk Brit heat up a drafty old theater.
It helps that this drama is about a sexy, 7-year-long love triangle with multiple infidelities. The story moves backward, like “Memento,” with Emma (Zawe Ashton) telling Jerry (Charlie Cox) that her husband finally learned of their affair, two years after it ended. Even more complicated is that the hubby, Robert (Hiddleston), is Jerry’s BFF.
Later, we see the illicit couple canoodling in the London love nest they pay for together. There are also glimpses of the trio sharing wine together, tiptoeing around treacherous information that could potentially obliterate two families. If it didn’t come with the Pinter seal of snobbery, Susan Lucci could star.
Although “Betrayal” was first performed in 1978, everything from the clothes the characters wear to the way they sit feels totally modern. Especially effective is bass-heavy music during the scene in which Emma and Jerry first kiss at a house party. Such a moment will play out identically at some bar in New York tonight.
At its best, the play is white-hot. You really believe that at any moment, these gorgeous actors might rip off their clothes and do the deed. Director Jamie Lloyd’s production, however, is not always as deep as Pinter’s play has the potential to be. It sometimes overly luxuriates in sensuality, as if one of them might turn and say, “Obsession, by Calvin Klein.”
But your eyes are glued to the actors, who fill their Pinter pauses with fierce desire and longing — especially when standing several feet apart. Hiddleston supplies most of the play’s danger with his forceful presence, while its heart comes from a deep-feeling Ashton. Meanwhile, Cox is a guy plenty of audience members would gladly leave their husbands for.
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