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.

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.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 4, 2006

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