Blimey! I’ve left this one a while! We went to see Switzerland at Circa last month. This is one of the theatre’s headline plays for the beginning of 2018. It’s an imagining of the final days of Patricia Highsmith, celebrated author of The Talented Mr Ripley, and even more celebrated pain in the arse.
As the Entertainment book year draws to a close, I scanned the app to see what we still had outstanding, and found, to my surprise, that we’d not used the Zibibbo discount. That’s easily rectified, and I booked us in for dinner. As usual, the food was up to standard, and also as usual, the maitre d’ recognised us but couldn’t remember our names. His is Gareth. I think.
The play is a two-hander, featuring two old hands from Circa, Catherine Downes as Highsmith and Simon Leary as Edward Ridgeway. Edward has been sent by her publisher to see the reclusive Highsmith in her retreat in Switzerland, to try and cajole a last Ripley book out of her. In fact, he volunteered for the job, as he’s a huge fan. Naturally, Highsmith takes exception to him, her publishers, and the world in general, and tries to throw him out. Although at first he seems pretty weedy, he eventually shows himself to be made of sterner stuff and makes a deal with Highsmith, which allows him to stay overnight.
Spoilers? You want spoilers? OK, it turns out that all is not quite as it seems. Well, duh! As the scenes change, Ridgeway grows in confidence, and this is reflected in his better sartorial sense with each change – from dowdy New York publisher-nerd to dapper confidence trickster. By the end, he is getting the better of Highsmith in their verbal duelling, and this leads to the final denouement. Which I won’t spoil.
A jolly fun night out, go see it if you get a chance.