“Dangerous Obsession” – The New Play at the English Theatre of Hamburg

von Uta Buhr

Foto: Stefan Kock
Nice to meet you, Mr. Barrett.

Warning: Be careful. Somebody in the theatre is wearing a gun and will use it as the play goes on. But relax. It takes a certain time before John Barret, a shy and polite young man in a brown suit (admirably played by Adam Lilley) will direct his weapon against his hosts. You, the audience, are safe on your seats and will not be threatened. You may, however, be shocked by the noise.

But let us start at the very beginning. We are invited into a big elegantly furnished mansion somewhere in the British  “Home Countries.” It is surrounded by a lush garden, birds twitter in the trees, the sun shines. In that idyllic environment Sally Driscoll, an attractive young woman (sweet and sexy Gabrielle Douglas) waters her plants und enjoys a Mozart serenade. Out of the blue a stranger turns up who wants to talk to Sally Driscoll and her husband Mark. John Barret, that is his name, does not seem to fit into Sally’s and Mark’s posh home. He is badly dressed and wearing rather old-fashioned glasses. What does this man want from a well-heeled couple like the Driscolls? When Mark (Tom Rooke charming and slightly snobbish) arrives at home, he is surprised to find this unfitted stranger in his conservatory? However, being a civilised

Foto: Stefan Kock
Wait a minute, please. I am watering my plants.

man, he offers John Barrett a drink, hoping that he might vanish as soon as possible. Sally thinks that John is here to talk business to her husband and does not notice that John has secretly locked the door by key. Both are not aware of the clever way John makes them prisoners in their own home. John’s wife has recently been involved in a car accident and he seems devastated, gaining Sally’s sympathy for his loss. However Mark’s patience is wearing thin. He orders John to leave immediately. As Sally hands John his heavy briefcase, the latter pulls out a gun.  Several shots are fired, leaving Sally and Mark scared witless. What the hell is John really here for? End of Act 1.

After a twenty minute interval the second part of this very thrilling play follows.

Act 2 is full of many more twists and turns. It takes a time until John reveals the real purpose of this visit. Who was really involved in the accident? Who cheated whom? And are Sally and Mark really the perfect couple? John, threatening both with his gun, orders his “prisoners” to answer the most intimate questions and to confess secrets they had never ever dreamed of to reveal to anybody, let alone a complete stranger. There a more shots until the whole story about treason, cowardice and disloyalty is completely revealed. However, in the end nothing is as it originally seemed to be. An intricate plot that has tension, shocks and a great number of twists that keep the audience on the edge of their seats until the final curtain falls.

Foto: Stefan Kock
Don’t move. Otherwise I will shoot you.

“Dangerous Obsession” is a psycho-thriller written by the British author N. J. Crisp in the mid 80’s. It is generally acknowledged to have been his finest play. It enjoys frequent revivals  and tours in the UK and abroad. We thank director Philip Dart and his three wonderful actors for this outstanding performance at the English Theatre of Hamburg. Come again.



Last Performance of “Dangerous Obsession” on June 25, 2016.

Tickets, as usual, under telephone number 040 – 227 70 89, online booking under


Next premiere in September after the theatre holiday will be “Orphans” by Lyle Kessler.

We shall give you details about the exact date of the performance in due course.

Photos: Stefan Kock

Author: Maren Schönfeld

Maren Schönfeld ist Lyrikerin, Journalistin und Lektorin. Sie veröffentlicht Lyrikbände, Sachbücher sowie Artikel. Seit 2018 ist sie die Präsidentin der Auswärtigen Presse und leitet den Verband gemeinsam mit ihren Vorstandskollegen Dr. Manuel Ruoff und Winfried Wöhlke.