Set in the living room of an unhappily-married couple, one of whom is a politician on the eve of an important election, Internal Affairs follows the couple through several attempts by each spouse to get out of the marriage, whilst avoiding the terms of the prenup. Whilst set in the realistic enough scenario of an unhappy marriage, the play falls into unconvincing clichés on more than one account: the dialogue, the plot, the characters and the performances all fall short of expectations.
From the start the stage is set as the well-furnished living room of the affluent couple, and the set may have been my favourite part of this play: beautiful armchairs, an antique phone, wine flutes. The couple, Susan (Victoria Gibson) and Edward Smith (Dale Jewitt) initially portray the characters’ business-like and unsatisfactory marriage rather well. However, what followed the slightly more natural interactions were unrealistic scenes without sufficient motivation from the writing or characters in order to make them plausible. The scenes were too short, the blackouts too long and there was too much dead stage time, all of which effectively served to kill any kind of momentum the play may or may not have picked up if given a chance. The performances, although not helped by rather two-dimensional characters, were uninteresting and apathetic.
There were some redeeming moments but these did not linger for very long. The subplot between the cleaner and the journalist had its charming and amusing moments but wasn’t particularly fitting in style to the rest of the play. Both Gibson and Jewitt, particularly towards the end, had moments of intrigue and passion which they carried off with sensitivity, however, the play’s overall lack of substance rather overshadowed any talent on the part of the performers.
All in all, Internal Affairs’ most courageous feat was that it managed to simultaneously be both overdramatic and stale: a lifeless empty shell of melodrama without any passion or substance.