Theatre review - Dinner with Friends

DONALD Margulies’ comedy drama, about love, friendship and infidelity, is beautifully observed and focuses on the contradictions between the highs of sexual passion and the comforts of familiarity.

Karen (Sara Stewart) and Gabe (Shaun Dooley) take great delight in sharing their culinary expertise and regaling their friends with tales of their travels. They come across as unbearably smug and, as the play opens, Beth (Finty Williams) is dining with them alone.

After patiently listening to the couple’s latest adventures in Italy, she bursts into tears and tells them that Tom (Hari Dhillon), her partner of 12 years, is leaving her for a younger woman.

Surprisingly, this bombshell affects Karen and Gabe more than the estranged pair. Tom revels in his new-found freedom and the attentions of a younger woman. Beth wastes little time in reconnecting with an old flame and it is Karen and Gabe who are left questioning the strength of their own marriage and their motives for continuing as a couple.

The danger, Marguelies suggests, is of measuring your happiness against that of your friends.

Designer David Woodhead’s larger-than-life kitchen shelves convey the impossible domestic aspirations of many couples.

Fine performances, and Tom Attenborough’s fluid production, ensure that Dinner with Friends moves and entertains in equal measure.

Park Theatre until 28 November

Originally published by Camden Review