12 November 2018
4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Being in lockdown due to the corona virus pandemic, I thought I’d use the time to work on my backlog of shows I never got around to review back when I actually saw them. I just don’t always have the time to write reviews right away and sometimes they just fall into an eternal backlog that I am now striving to work through! I actually viewed this production on 12 November 2018 and am writing the review with my theatre notes written during and after the performance.
Ah, I remember this one so well because it is a gorgeous psychological thriller that builds up slowly and moves deeply.
Switzerland revolves around the later years of Patricia Highsmith, American novelist mostly famed for her Tom Ripley novels. The play imagines her in her later years, visited by a young man sent by her publisher, desperately trying to convince her to write one more Ripley novel before her death.
Highsmith is not a nice old woman, but a cantankerous bat who loves to ramble on about everyone and everything. Her visitor struggles to get a conversation started, but as the night draws on, it becomes very clear that the young man might have another motive for his visit altogether.
There is such an underlying sense of unease throughout the entire show, brilliantly building up tension and suspicion. I felt myself slowly drift my sympathies from one character to the other as the blot shifts and reveals an unexpected darkness. The subtle dread and shifting of motives is so well done, it’s a superb new play that I hope will be performed more widely for years to come.