Saturday, 14 May 2016
Theatre: The Birthday Party.......
Presented by London Classic Theatre
By Harold Pinter
“There’s a gentleman living here. He’s got a birthday today, and he’s forgotten all about it. So we’re going to remind him. We’re going to give him a party.”
A shabby boarding house in a small English seaside town. An elderly couple take care of a solitary guest, who rarely ventures out. The arrival of two enigmatic strangers seems to offer a welcome distraction from their mundane existence. But when an impromptu, seemingly innocent birthday party abruptly turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse, there are horrifying repercussions.
By turns, cryptic thriller and macabre comedy, The Birthday Party was Harold Pinter’s first major work and is among the most unusual and absorbing of his plays. London Classic Theatre presents the first significant touring revival of the twenty-first century, promising to bring this ground-breaking classic to fresh and exhilarating life.
"The most unusual" is an understatement. The friends I went with hated it. Almost everyone as they left the theatre were mumbling and chatting with comments like "well what was all that about?" or similar. For me I was confused by a script lacking in any cohesive story and dialogue of apparently totally random words. So many red herring remarks leading us in yet another wrong assumption. My first thought was that Pinter had been on drugs, but chatting to Daughter who saw the play the night before me, we came to the conclusion that he just aimed to shock and encourage strong reactions, which this performance certainly did. Daughter and I both agreed that the actor who played Stanley portrayed his mental health issues so believably. Really glad I had Daughter to chat it through with as my theatre friends just labelled it rubbish and said they'd never book another Pinter play.