A fresh take on ‘kabit’ stories: REP stages Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal’ in Manila

By Jainor Garcia

Filipinos are huge fans of stories involving a kabit (someone involved in illicit or extramarital relationships) and betrayal, but never in my life did I expect one to be so artistically crafted, it still managed to surprise me with its different context and point of view. Harold Pinter’s Betrayal has been around since 1978 but it’s amazing how Repertory Philippines (REP) gave life to a timeless tale, so let us get into the details and convince you to watch it before the final curtain call on March 17.

Directed by the renowned Victor Lirio, Betrayal boasts a stellar cast of London-based Filipino actors James Bradwell, James Cooney, and Vanessa White, alongside Manila-based actors Regina De Vera and Jef Flores. With extensive experience on both stage and screen, these talented performers breathe life into Pinter’s characters, capturing the raw emotions and intricate dynamics of their intertwined lives.

Set against the backdrop of London and Venice, this gripping tale unfolds in a unique reverse-chronological order, offering a unique perspective on the complexities of human relationships. The choreographed opening sequence alone was enough to keep us hooked! The director’s decision to incorporate Filipino references was a bold and refreshing choice, it set the stage for what was to come, hinting at a narrative that would unfold with both grace and intensity.

Bradwell, known for his performances at prestigious venues like Shakespeare’s Globe and The Royal Court Theatre, delivers a compelling portrayal of Robert, while James Cooney shines as Jerry, Robert’s best friend. White, a former member of The Saturdays, returns to her theater roots with a captivating performance as Emma, the woman caught between two worlds.

Their acting was nothing short of outstanding. The performance, especially of the two male leads — Cooney and Bradwell, was captivating, with each line delivered in a way that felt natural and believable. Despite having fewer lines, Robert’s (Bradwell) personality shone through, adding depth to the character dynamics.

Commending as well the stunning set design by Miguel Urbino, evocative lighting by John Batalla, immersive sound by Fabian Obispo, and very natural looks by Becky Bodurtha. The set and lights played a crucial role in the overall experience. The Filipino touch was evident in the artworks displayed on stage, adding to the richness of the visual storytelling. What made this adaptation stand out though was its unique perspective from a Filipino immigrant, which we’ll let you discover for yourselves.

London-based Filipino actors James Bradwell, James Cooney, and Vanessa White

Overall, REP’s staging of Roland Pinter’s Betrayal offered a fresh take on a familiar theme, with great performances and unique directorial choices that made it a memorable theater experience. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with lots of love, betrayal, and longing. Don’t miss it at the Carlos P. Romula Theater in RCBC Plaza, Makati City from March 1 to March 17, 2024.


For show-buying and ticket inquiries, contact REP at 0966-905-4013 or email marketing@repphil.org,  sales@repphil.org or visit https://linktr.ee/repertoryphilippines. Tickets for the following show dates are now available via Ticketworld starting at Php 1,500.

  • March 1, 8, 15 – 8:00 PM
  • March 2, 9, 16 – 3:30 PM / 8:00 PM
  • March 3, 10, 17 – 3:30 PM

*This is part of The Bridge Project, an initiative aimed at fostering collaboration and skill exchange among theater professionals worldwide.

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3 Replies to “A fresh take on ‘kabit’ stories: REP stages Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal’ in Manila”

  1. This is interesting to watch ms. Cess.. actually may isang tv show na pinapanood q . Sumesentro sa pag tatraydor.sa pangangaliwa.. totoong pangyayari sa ibang tao. pero mapupulutan ng aral ..

  2. I’m a Huge fan din nito
    Kasi kahit in my real life ,naranasan ko din ganitong situation
    Btw, for sure ang ganda Nito Panoorin Ms Ces

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