REVIEW: Fatal Attraction, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday ***

That clinches it: Susie Amy’s Alex Forrest and Oliver Farnwoth’s Dan Gallagher in Fatal Attraction. Picture: Tristram Kenton

Fatal Attraction, by James Dearden, Grand Opera House, York, 7.30pm tonight; 2.30pm, 7.30pm, Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets/York

JAMES Dearden revisits his script for Adrian Lyne’s “bunny boiler” movie, the Paramount Pictures psychological thriller where it was fatal to get too close to Glenn Close’s Alex Forrest.

Dearden does not merely plonk it on stage. Instead, he moves it forward from 1987 to today’s world of #MeToo, greater awareness of mental health, all-pervasive technology (constantly name-checked to prove the point), but where men’s entitled behaviour has not changed.

He tells the same story with better balance but, frustratingly, not better dialogue in climactic scenes, brought to stage life with directorial swagger by Loveday Ingram, an outstanding, hi-tech set design by Morgan Large and projections by Mogzi.

Then add the box-office magnet of a celebrity cast of a Footballers’ Wives goddess (Susie Amy), a soap star (Oliver Farnworth, from Coronation Street and Hollyoaks) and a girl group favourite and Strictly runner-up (Eternal’s Louise Redknapp), each assuming a generic American accent that largely stays that side of the Pond.

They are not playing to big houses, suggesting Fatal Attraction may have lost its sex-sells allure since 1987 or lacks sufficient curiosity value in its transfer to the stage, or has been consigned to the past like so many DVDs and videos at a car boot sale.

Nevertheless, Dearden, Ingram, the production team and cast, sound designer Carolyn Downing and composer Paul Englishby have committed wholly to justifying its return. Dearden even comes up with a Sliding Doors coda, a little awkwardly delivered but worth it all the same.

If Fatal Attraction has slipped from memory or never been a Close encounter of the psycho kind for you, here is a quick refresher course. Farnworth’s Dan Gallagher – a happily married New York attorney with a daughter (unseen, voiced by Charlotte Holden) – narrates the torrid tale of his two-night stand with Amy’s Alex Forrest, the mysterious woman at the basement bar he “befriends”.

Wife Beth (Redknapp) is away in the country for the weekend, and as the drinks clink, the strangers click, Downing’s sound design pounds away, and soon Dan and Alex are too, with every last theatre light turned off. Sound and vision work to best effect here.

Dan might think everything can be washed away with a change of shirt, the fling flung, the dirty deed done, but Alex has other ideas. If there are rules, you play by hers, and here is a woman scorned. A woman, too, whose carapace of confidence in the bar turns out to be fragile, a front to cover loneliness.

Louise Redknapp’s Beth Gallagher in Fatal Attraction. Picture: Tristram Kenton

Alex still goes down the bunny boiler path, but Dearden refracts her actions through the prism of our better understanding of mental illness, and the assured Amy has switched impressively from playing Beth in the tour’s first leg to bringing a more rounded humanity to the deeply troubled Alex, her more considered interpretation having none of the Hollywood histrionics of Close.

Farnworth never quite shakes off being an Englishman playing a New York American, but he captures the oily charm but nonchalant arrogance and misogynism of the smart but outsmarted lawyer.

Who is the victim here? Mentally wounded, self-harming, jilted Alex? Dan, who took a chance that backfired? Or Redknapp’s wronged wife, Beth, who had given up her better-paid job to dedicate herself to husband, child and nest-building, making pasta sauce for Dan before heading up country?

The answer is all three in Dearden’s 2022 version, although he has written the cut-and-thrust scenes for Alex and Dan rather better than those for Dan and demure Beth, especially the far-too-rushed confession and confrontation over his infidelity.

Heat and tension, and later exhaustion, rise from Alex and Dan’s encounters. By contrast, Beth’s hurt is under-powered, unconvincingly reduced to being too reliant on a few expletives as if one eye were on the running time. She deserved better, not just in her husband, but in that let-down of a melodramatic climactic scene.

Put that one down to Dearden but Ingram’s direction errs in the tone of the bunny boiler set-piece, set up deliciously, even with a hint of knowing mischief, only to go off the boil and fizzle out into unintentional comedy. Not for the only time, the pacing is not right – even in the tour’s last week – and momentum is stalled.

Consistently excellent, however, is Large’s set design, one that enables a slick transfer of locations through a fusion of multiple screens and a box-of-tricks structure that allows for furniture to emerge, entrances to be created. Then call on Mogzi’s projections to conjure all manner of imagery, internal, external, urban and upstate, most spectacularly a speeding car heading out of control.

To further emphasise the 21st century refurb, mobile phonecalls and video calls are relayed on those screens too. The overall effect of this deliberate visual overload is to mess around with your head, just as Dan and Alex are doing to each other, all the while blurring and twisting reality beyond Dan’s narrative control.

Fatal Attraction, the stage play, is the proverbial curate’s egg: direction hit and miss; design top drawer; performances enjoyable; the writing alive to a changed world but sometimes misfiring, not least an overworked “Tired of London/Tired of New York” simile.

Yet everything ultimately boils down to whether it works as a psychological thriller, one that gets you both hot and bothered, shocks and surprises you, and while it comes within a knife’s length of doing so, in the big moments, the ones that really matter, it falls tantalisingly short.  

More Things To Do in and around York as The Divine Comedy offer something for the weekend. List No. 80, courtesy of The Press

The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon: Leading a Charmed Life at York Barbican tonight. Picture: Kevin Westerberg

SEEKING Divine inspiration? Here comes Charles Hutchinson with his guide to what’s hot, from topical comedy to charming songwriters, a steamy thriller to intense jazz.

Charmer of the week: The Divine Comedy, York Barbican, tonight, 7.45pm

THE Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon plays York this weekend for the first time since the Irish chamber-pop leprechaun’s Minster concert in May 2011.

Hannon will be showcasing his 2022 compilation, Charmed Life – The Best Of The Divine Comedy, marking the completion of the 51-year-old songwriter, musical score composer and cricket enthusiast’s third decade as a recording artist

“I’ve been luckier than most,” Hannon says. “I get to sing songs to people for a living and they almost always applaud.” Hence that Charmed Life title. Box office:

Alexander Flanagan Wright feels the Stillington dance vibes

Outdoor dance vibes of the long weekend: Dance Dance Dance, A Damn Big Dance Party, At The Mill, Stillington, near York, Sunday, 6pm to 11pm

HEADPHONES on as At The Mill plays host to a three-channel Silent Disco with a bunch of very cool guest DJs, a live set from Flatcap Carnival and the pizza oven fired up for orders.

Organiser Alexander Flanagan Wright says: “We got Joshua Pulleyn coming. We got Bolshee taking over a channel. We got Sarah Rorke blasting out some Northern Soul vibes. Tom Figgins is metaphorically spinning a track or two.

“Paul Smith has some new punk and old-school hip hop heading your way. Abbi Ollive has a solid hour of girl power. And I’m lining up a lot of Chemical Brothers, Prodigy and Beyoncé as I can. Come dance. It’s gotta be mega. There’s a handful of tickets left at”

Beth McCarthy: Heading back home to play The Crescent

Homecoming of the week: Beth McCarthy, The Crescent, York, Monday, doors 7.30pm

BETH McCarthy, now living in London, heads home to play her first York gig since March 2019.

Singer-songwriter Beth has been buoyed by the online response to her singles and videos, drawing 4.8 million likes and 300,000 followers on TikTok and attracting 465,000 monthly listeners and nine million plays of her She Gets The Flowers on Spotify. Box office:

Double at the treble: Stewart Lee serves up his Snowflake and Tornado double bill on three nights at York Theatre Royal from May 3 to 5

Comedy gigs of the week: Stewart Lee, Snowflake/Tornado, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Thursday, 7.30pm

DELAYED by lockdowns, Stewart Lee finally brings Snowflake/Tornado – a double bill of two 60-minute sets, back-to-back nightly – to York with new material for 2022.

Heavily rewritten in the light of two pandemic-enforced dormant years, Snowflake looks at how the Covid/Brexit era has influenced the culture war between lovely snowflakes and horrible people.

Tornado questions Lee’s position in the comedy marketplace after Netflix mistakenly listed his show as “reports of sharks falling from the skies are on the rise again. Nobody on the Eastern Seaboard is safe.” Good luck trying to acquire a ticket on 01904 623568 or at

Trouble brewing: Lift-off for Susie Amy’s Alex Forrest and Oliver Farnworth in Fatal Attraction. Picture: Tristram Kenton

Psychological thriller of the week: Fatal Attraction, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm matinees, Wednesday and Saturday

JAMES Dearden, screenwriter for Adrian Lyne’s 1987 “bunny boiler” American psycho thriller, has written a new stage version of Fatal Attraction for 21st century audiences, mobile phones et al.

The plot remains the same: happily married New York attorney Dan Gallagher (Oliver Farnworth) has a night on the town with editor Alex Forrest (Susie Amy) that boils up into passion.

Dan returns home to wife Beth (Louise Redknapp), trying to forget what happened, but Alex has only one rule: you play fair with her and she’ll play fair with you. If not…! Box office: 0844 871 7615 or

All smiles: Marti Pellow on his Greatest Hits Tour at York Barbican

Smile of the week: Marti Pellow, Greatest Hits Tour, York Barbican, Tuesday, 7.30pm  

LET Marti Pellow introduce his Greatest Hits Tour show. “It’s about finally being able to come together to celebrate love, life, and remember those we may have lost along the way. Most of all, it’s about enjoyment and celebrating the here and now. Get your dancing shoes on: it’s time to party with Marti.”

Expect songs from his Wet Wet Wet and solo catalogues up to 2021’s Stargazer album, cover versions too, plus reflective chat as he sits on the edge of the stage. Box office:

The good sax guide: Saxophonist Trish Clowes with her My Iris bandmates, promising earthy restlessness and futuristic dreamscapes at the NCEM

Jazz gig of the week: Trish Clowes: My Iris, National Centre for Early Music, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm

SAXOPHONIST Trish Clowes leads her jazz band My Iris in their York debut, providing pianist Ross Stanley, guitarist Chris Montague and drummer James Maddren with a high-intensity platform for individual expression and improvisation.

Driving grooves and lingering melodic lines combine as they “seamlessly morph between earthy restlessness and futuristic dreamscapes”. Box office: 01904 658338 or

Exploring motherhood: Ana Silverio in Me, Myself & Misha

Indoor dance show of the week: Terpsichoring Dance Company in Me, Myself And Misha, York Theatre Royal Studio, Friday, 7.45pm

TERPSICHORING Dance Company’s Me, Myself & Misha  is a heartfelt, autobiographical 40-minute show devised and performed by award-winning dance artist Ana Silverio, who explores the physical and emotional journey, full of challenges and joys, that one woman undertakes to become a mother.

Universal themes of pregnancy and labour are presented, using a mix of physical theatre and dance alongside an original and moving musical score. Box office: 01904 623568 or

The poster for the Yorkraine benefit concert at the Grand Opera House, York

Fundraiser alert: Yorkraine, for DEC Ukraine Appeal, Grand Opera House, York, May 24, 7.30pm

YORKRAINE’s benefit concert combines four of York’s finest cover bands, The Supermodels, The Mothers, The Y Street Band and Sister Madly, plus acoustic slots from Alex Victoria and Mal Fry and guest speakers.

The evening of pop and rock classics from the past six decades will raise funds for the British Red Cross DEC appeal to aid Ukrainian refugees who find themselves in dire circumstances. All artists, hosts, sound tech and crew have donated their time free of charge. Box office:

Balancing act: Gary Barlow talks the talk as he walks the walk on his musical journey through A Different Stage

Gig announcement of the week: Gary Barlow, A Different Stage, Grand Opera House, York, June 10 and 11

TAKE That legend, singer, songwriter, composer, producer, talent show judge and author Gary Barlow is adding a theatrical one-man show to his repertoire.

“I’ve done shows where it has just been me and a keyboard,” says Barlow. “I’ve done shows where I sit and talk to people. I’ve done shows where I’ve performed as part of a group.

“But this one, well, it’s like all of those, but none of them. When I walk out this time, well, it’s going to be a very different stage altogether.” Now the bad news: tickets went on sale at 9.30am yesterday and sold out by 10am, but Pray there could yet be a silver lining…

How Susie Amy switched from wife Beth to ‘jilted psycho’ Alex in Fatal Attraction

On a knife edge: Susie Amy’s Alex Forrest reaches boiling point in Fatal Attraction. Picture: Tristram Kenton

FIRST Susie Amy played the cheated wife’s role in the 2022 theatre tour of James Dearden’s Fatal Attraction.

Now, for the second leg, she has switched from Beth to “the other woman”, the Hitchcockian bunny boiler Alex Forrest, still playing opposite Coronation Street soap star favourite Oliver Farnworth, but now joined by Eternal singer, television presenter, actress, 2016 Strictly Come Dancing runner-up and fashion influencer Louise Redknapp  as the tour rolls into York next Tuesday for its final week at the Grand Opera House.

“I played Beth for eight weeks from January, and it was great playing her with Kym Marsh as Alex,” says Susie. “But the way it’s worked out, it’s been nice to have the rare chance to play both female leads in the same play and see things from different perspectives – and I’ve really enjoyed working with Louise too.”

The changeover could not have been quicker. “I finished on the Saturday as Beth and started as Alex the next Tuesday after rehearsing the role while playing Beth in the evening,” she says.

The poster for the first leg of the Fatal Attraction tour when Susie Amy, left, played wife Beth, with Kym Marsh as Alex Forrest and Oliver Farnworth as attorney husband Dan Gallagher

“I only had the odd couple of hours here and there, but I did a lot of work on my own with Rachel Heyburn, our assistant director, and I knew the project very well by then, knowing the feel of the piece.”

A household name since her sparkling days as glamour model Chardonnay Lane-Pascoe in ITV’s trashy hit melodrama Footballers’ Wives from 2002 to 2004, Susie, 41, joined the Fatal Attraction cast for the stage resurrection of an American psychological thriller never forgotten from Adrian Lyne’s 1987 movie, the one with Michael Douglas, Glenn Close and Anne Archer.  

Beth, you may recall, is the wife of New York attorney Dan Gallagher (Farnworth), their marriage ever so happy until he meets hotshot editor Alex Forrest on a night out that ends up in enflamed passion. Dan returns home, tries to forget his “mistake”, but Alex has different ideas. She has one rule: you play fair with her, and she’ll play fair with you.

So far, so familiar, from Dearden’s original film screenplay, but the tour is presenting his new stage version of a stylish, sinister, steamy thriller that asks: what happens when desire becomes deadly?

The poster for Fatal Attraction’s run at the Grand Opera House, York, with Susie Amy, right, now playing Alex

“The film was set in 1987; the play is set today with mobile phones,” says Susie. “The writer has been in the rehearsal room, sharing his vision with us, honouring the original but modernising it too, which is important because we think so differently now.

“Whereas Alex would have been called a ‘bunny boiler’ back then, now there’s more emphasis on understanding mental health, so though it’s the same story, now we look at things differently, especially in relation to mental wellbeing.

“Now, we relate more to Alex’s desperate loneliness. Here, a man has come along and shown her interest that she’s really bought into, before he goes back into his family world, and she can’t accept that.”

Alex is placed in a difficult situation, says Susie. “Dan has gone back to the people he’s fairly happy with, and that has left Alex unhappy, which is a not-unfamiliar position – and now we see her side of the story through the eyes of having a better awareness of mental health issues.

“Dan is arrogant. His wife has quit her better-paid job to look after their children, and he’s used to getting his way. Though he genuinely connects with Alex, he wants to forget her, hoping she will never see him again.

“Whereas Alex would have been called a ‘bunny boiler’ back then, now there’s more emphasis on understanding mental health,” says Susie Amy

“He doesn’t treat Alex well but, at the same time, you shouldn’t stalk someone, though Dan should not have given false hope to her, and Beth ends up very much betrayed. Beth had really trusted him in a relationship where she thought they respected each other.”

By contrast with the “bunny boiler” jibes thrown at Alex in the film, theatre audiences have been giving Susie’s 2022 Alex a fairer hearing. “To be honest, it’s nice to be getting a mixed reaction, because it’s normal for people to think differently; some people have sympathy for Dan, some for Beth, some for Alex,” she says. “Maybe it all depends on our own experiences in life.

“Then you also have to consider that there are some people who have never seen the film, mostly young people, and they may look at it differently to how people did in 1987.”

Putting Susie on the spot, does she prefer playing Beth or Alex? “Alex,” she says. “Just because, as an actor, it’s a such a great rollercoaster of a ride every performance, playing this independent, sassy, sexy woman, who would catch a man’s eye in a really empowered way, but as the play progresses, her mental health fails her and she starts to turn.”

Fatal Attraction boils over at Grand Opera House, York, May 3 to 7, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm matinees, Wednesday and Saturday. Box office: or on 0844 871 7615.

Copyright of The Press, York

That fatal moment in Fatal Attraction: Lift-off for Susie Amy’s Alex Forrest and Oliver Farnworth’s Dan Gallagher. Picture: Tristram Kenton