Loosely based on a real-life case that shook Edwardian England, Tryst follows a con man who seduces swooning young women, marries them, cleans out their bank accounts, and then dumps his victims, corsets half undone. But the smooth-talking bigamist meets his unlikely match in a homely hat shop clerk who's much smarter than she first lets on.

Karoline Leach's script, with its pat psychology and Oprah-style testimonials about the importance of a woman's self-esteem, may be several goosebumps short of a thriller. Joe Brancato's production, however, benefits from two magnetic stage presences: Maxwell Caulfield's buff torso and Amelia Campbell, whose shy milliner moves from hand-wringing neurosis to steely determination as her character turns the tables on her presumptive victimizer.

Big Love: Caulfield and Campbell
photo: Carol Rosegg
Big Love: Caulfield and Campbell


By Karoline Leach
Promenade Theatre
2162 Broadway

Both are upstaged by David Korins's impressive all-black set, a spooky alley in Sweeney Todd London that creaks open like a spring trap to reveal the sordid little boardinghouse room where the unlucky couple spend their wedding night—one half expects it to snap shut with its prey inside.

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