What struck me as the story of Mr Ripley started to unfold was how difficult it is to bring this particular story to the stage. Major parts of the story revolved around the exchange of letters, and Mr Ripley’s emerging dualistic personality also presents many problems for a stage adaptation. These problems were dealt with in a way that, rather than being problematic, added to the sense of paranoia and obsession that were heavily present throughout the play.
Tom Ripley (Joshua Foyster) – a minor conman – is sent to Italy to convince Richard Greenleafe (David Phillips) to go back to the United States to be with his family. However, once Mr Ripley does find him he starts to develop a deep and disturbing obsession.
Richard’s presence on the stage as a representation of Mr Ripley’s psyche cleverly portrays their almost-joint personality as well as being able to represent the arguments that Mr Ripley has with himself. The way the characters interact seamlessly on stage, even when representing conversations that are happening miles apart, through real or imagined correspondence, is a credit to Peter Hynds direction.
The story increases in tension as Mr Ripley’s web of deceptions starts to grow out of control. Like a coiled spring , by the end, there is a feeling that something has to give: one slip or one mistake and it will all be over and Mr Ripley will be revealed for the fraud he is.
- The Talented Mr Ripley is showing at Swindon Arts Centre on the 5th and 6th of July