It is 1995. In the Swiss Alps a reclusive author hides away in her study, surrounded by her collection of books and antique weaponry, finding solace in her seclusion, her cats and cigarettes. The author is Patricia Highsmith, the queen of the thriller, now ageing and ailing. Vitriolic, bigoted and alcoholic, her eccentricities are the stuff of legend.
A polished young man turns up, sent by her New York publisher to persuade the great writer to pen one final instalment of her best-selling series featuring the master manipulator, Tom Ripley. But as day breaks over the mountains, it becomes clear that the charming stranger is set on a far more sinister mission.
Filled with razor-sharp dialogue, this chilling and sometimes hilarious two-hander unfolds into a gripping psychological thriller.
Tell Me More
The famously contentious but undeniably gifted author Patricia Highsmith is at the center of the new play “Switzerland” by Joanna Murray-Smith, whose sharp dialogue weaves through this “clever and maze-like journey into the human psyche,” according to Fine Times Recorder. Phyllis Logan stars in the gripping drama, delivering a widely lauded, unmissable performance as the rancorous and crass writer.
By 1995, the ornery Highsmith had made a name for herself as the queen of the thriller novel, and for having devised the brilliant and potentially sociopathic character Tom Ripley. Ripley had already starred in a series of her novels, and Edward, sent by the publisher, must convince her to write the final instalment. Given his mission to track down a belligerent author living in the solitude of the Swiss Alps with only her cigarettes, cats, and collection of antique weapons, this trip is far from Edward’s dream vacation. Though he knows he is in for a challenge, no one could have foreseen the sinister thrill ride that unfolds.
What To Watch For
- Patricia Highsmith’s 1950 novel “Strangers on a Train” is perhaps her most famous work, though most people recognize the title from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 critically acclaimed film adaptation. Both the novel and the film are known as classic staples of the thriller genre in their respective mediums.
- Highsmith is credited with writing the first novel that showcases a lesbian love story with a happy ending, “The Price of Salt,” later adapted into the award-winning film “Carol” 63 years later. Due to fear of being labeled as a “lesbian writer,” Highsmith wrote the novel under the pseudonym Claire Morgan, though it was republished later under her own name.
- Joanna Murray-Smith has written almost 20 plays, including her most notable work, “Honour,” which has been translated into 30 different languages to date.
- Murray-Smith has suggested that the play – though clearly a fictionalised version of the very real person Patricia Highsmith – is also an autobiographical portrait of herself. On the subject, she told The Guardian: “Every play is about you even if there’s no obvious connection. And often you don’t know how until years later.”
1 hr 40 min (no interval)