“Ever get the feeling like you’re being watched? Or being followed?” asks Tom Ripley to the audience at the opening.
From the start, Tom seems nervous. And that’s before any of the drama has unfolded.
Tom Ripley has a chance encounter with a wealthy businessman and bluffs his way through a conversation where he sees his chance to have some fun and make money at the same time.
The businessman, Mr Greenleaf, would like his son to return to The States from Italy to begin working at his business. And Tom offers to go and get him, having never met before.
Christopher Hughes (Tom Ripley) is a chameleon and plays three parts.
The first, Tom Ripley to the public. A quintessential British gentleman complete with corduroy blazer. The second, Tom’s conscience who is
hysteric and fraught with panic. And finally, impersonating the cool playboy, Dickie Greenleaf.
Hughes dives in and out of these roles and emotions at the snap of a finger fantastically well to keep the story moving. Accents and clothing may change, but without Hughes’ ability to change demeanor quickly, the character simply wouldn’t work. Breaking the 4th wall opens up Ripley’s comedic side which helps make the character likable too.
Christopher York (Dickie Greenleaf) also deserves a mention as together with Hughes they become the same character or swap roles several times.
This adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley by The Faction focuses on conscience. With several near moments of discovery of what he’s done and interrogations by all parties, you’re constantly on edge as to whether he’s going to get caught, aided by the presence of characters at the side of the stage, representing Ripley’s conscience.
In the end, is lying to get ahead really worth it if you’re always going to be looking over your shoulder?
Rating – 4/5