Alas, cerebral, slippery Betty is a lot less convincing. She's a homage to Tennessee Williams's dames, addicted to her ownÂ waning attractiveness.
"I feel invisible," she moans of her early midlife slide into the sidelines of sexual action, "like grey Jello."
Honey, I know how you feel, but it's aÂ bit of a distraction from the real tensions between siblings whose love-hate relationship has Deathtrap overtones. LaBute isÂ dazzling, inventive and, of course, dark, but the revelations don't shock and the play never escapes its own hidden shallows.
I did feel entitled to some simple good cheer after allÂ this, so it was off to seeÂ the Wizard: Andrew LloydÂ Webber's Wizard of Oz at the Palladium, which has been restored to look like a gin palace, with acres of Versailles mirrors and plush red carpets.
The great musical Svengali conducted his search for Dorothy in a TV talent contest, and the winner, Danielle Hope, does rather bear the hallmarks of the Britain's Got Talent era: big-chest voice, solid performance, but zero character of her own.
The production is big, bossy and bright, with the Witch descending on a wire and swaying perilously above the stalls. It is also far too loud. Stop me if I'm sounding old, but why are musicals turning up the volume to ear-splitting levels? "Over the Rainbow" was belted out at a volume heavy-metal bands would quake at. Some funny additional lyrics have been grafted onto the original â€” "She's pretty, she's clueless, and I want her shoeless"â€” but getting Dorothy back to Kansas didn't seem to matter enough: the longing got lost in the noise.
Real friends of Dorothy might prefer the new cast of Wicked at the Apollo. It's a rare example of a prequel which adds something to a familiar tale â€” cheeky, racy and enough to make us sympathise with girls who end up with green faces. Leave Dorothy to the Munchkins and try that instead.