Fatal Attraction Live Review | Opera House | Manchester
Offering a one-night stand to remember, Coronation Street’s Kym Marsh dons the notorious bunny boiler role for a tension-filled evening of revenge. Relishing the role of Alex, the quick-witted villainess who sweeps the Opera House audience along with a tumultuous love triangle.
Hoping for a discreet affair, husband Dan Gallagher (Oliver Farnworth) decides to step outside of his marriage to sleep with his Madama Butterfly aficionado, red flag waving work colleague, Alex (Marsh). Unfortunately for Dan, Alex’s side chick status quickly escalates into stalker territory as she attempts to win back his affection.
While Dan remains ever fearful of his marriage being destroyed by this near stranger, he is unsympathetic to Alex’s attachment to him and her detachment from reality. With more than one scene involving a butcher knife alongside lines like “I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan”, Alex’s alternative truth points to an unnamed mental disorder, but the show shapes the tragic lead as a vampire out for nothing but love and blood.
Adapted from the plot-light 1988 film that saw Glenn Close’s deranged vision of vigilante justice take back her control from the adulterous Dan. The stage show concentrates on Dan’s experience, giving him the chance to narrate his own tale of corruption. The films portrayal of Alex’s chokehold over her lover builds to such a psychotic conclusion that it coined the phrase “bunny boiler”. In which Close’s endeavours sees her character consistently thrown under a bus for the results of the pairs affair. Fortunately, James Dearden’s stage adaption offers the original movies ending in which Alex and Dan share more of the blame between them.
As Alex builds her case against Dan through incessant calls, Ingram builds the toxic love story with ominous sound effects and shadowy projected images. With audiences forced to keep their eyes peeled for Alex’s next strike, many storm clouds gather above Dan’s head as the structured grey set lingers above its cast regardless of whether they are stationed at the workplace or at home. Marsh also finds her footing somewhere between enthusiastically shattering marriages and being an over passionate sweetheart, with a decisive performance as the worrisome and misunderstood antihero. While Farnworth’s portrayal of the naïve martyr shows him to be a manipulative and convincing victim throughout.
Fatal Attractions’ story remains as subtle as setting an ex’s car on fire, but its wild tale of retribution is a gratifying ride to take. Alex’s characterisation revisited 30 years after its films release offers a belated upgrade for the mistress. Despite remaining a problematic character, her personality is not as anaemic as it is in the film. Marsh is darkly delicious, ratcheting up her energy from troubled lover to a scorching earth ex and building to a biting finale. It is also difficult to resist the allure of the stage adaption and as Fatal Attraction live revamps a different pattern to the one presented on film, audiences will remain drawn to the drama as it offers a far more satisfying ending with its stage revival.
Tickets are available via the ATG link