The Birthday Party

5
Sun, 28th Jan 18
60th Anniversary production of Pinter's classic

The Birthday Parth review

Very occasionally I see a production that makes my bones tingle with its pure quality - for me, this is one of those oh so rare times - a real delight.I thoroughly enjoyed it, as a play, as a production and for the sheer delight of watching this amazing cast deliver flawless performances in Ian Rickson's masterly directed production.

Funny, dark, complex yet accesible, The Birthday Party was only Pinter's second play and was first performed in 1958 (I didn't see it then, I was 3!) - it didn't receive a warm welcome and its London run was pulled after a week.Perhaps a modern audience is more open, or maybe we now have a body of Pinter's work that enables us to see this in context. The dialogue, especially in the opning scenes, really couldn't be more Pinter in structure (no, it is not about the pauses), and the choice and juxtaposition of words themselves delight.

Peter Wight's softly played Petey is a beautiful introduction to the piece which he frames perfectly and I was intrigued by Peal Mackie's Lulu - in some ways a more curiously introduced character than even Goldberg and McCann because she is so ordinary in a world of the odd - she someone made sense of this. Zoe Wanamaker was just fabulous - what a beautifully pitched performance as the slow Meg, never quite grasping what was going on and the one who, in end, draws most of our sympathy.

The introduction of Stephen Mangan's manic Goldberg and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor's strange McCann was a theatrical delight - a moment of quiet before the storm that was to follow. I was completely taken in by Stephen mangan's perforrmance which shook with authenticity and menace. Tom Valughan-Lawlor as the supposed heavy with the slightly insecure centre did an excellent job giving us alternate threat and laughs. In the end, though, the success of this play stands or falls by the central performance of Stanley - an abrasive, mysterious, individual and long term resident of Petey and Meg's awful boarding house (it is "on the list" though!). Toby Jones nails it. From pathetic to threatening, confused to aggressive he hits each note dead centre - and his stillness as the party unfolds around him is beautiful to watch. As I said, sometimes as well as the play and the production you can enjoy the sheer quality of the performances - had they been reading the phone directory (remember them?) I'd still have got that same tingle.

There is a layer of Pinter's play that is actually a simple to follow story, but it is the deeper layers of memory, control  and emotional abuse that really stand out - beautifully crafted.

So glad I managed to see this production during its limited run at the Harold Pinter Theatre - genuinely one I will remember for a very long time.


Search Reviews/News


Newsletter

Email*
Captcha*

Find us on-line

Facebook
SeatChoice page
Twitter
SeatChoice tweets
Android
The UKTW Android App for listings and information on the move
Wordpress Plugin
The UKTW Wordpress Plugin is now available so that you can add links and widgets easily to Wordpress sites
Linked-In
UKTW company page and Robert Iles
Google+
UKTW
Blog/Website
SeatChoice and Robert's personal
tumblr
UKTW tumblr page
rss
SeatChoice and UKTW

Latest News & Reviews

21st Jan 19 :: To Kill a Mockingbird
Tour cancelled.
16th Jan 19 :: Review: Extra Virgin
Seen at Above the Stag.
4
12th Jan 19 :: Dr Dolittle
Tour pulled after poor pre-sales
11th Jan 19 :: Review: Motown the Musical
Touring production seen at the Bristol Hippodrome.
2
9th Jan 19 :: Les Mis Moving
Les Mis is to move whilst the Queen's Theatre is revamped.
31st Dec 18 :: Jimmy Osmond
Withdraws from panto due to illness
17th Dec 18 :: Review: The Boy Under the Christmas Tree
Seen at the King's Head Theatre.
3
13th Dec 18 :: Review: Chasing Bono
Seen at the Soho Theatre.
5
11th Dec 18 :: Review: Cinderella
Panto at the Bristol Hippodrome.
4
5th Dec 18 :: Review: A Christmas Carol
A new adaptation at the Bristol Old Vic.
5
5th Dec 18 :: Review: Chloe and the Colour Catcher
Kids Christmas show at the Bristol Old Vic
4
1st Dec 18 :: Review: Mother Goose Cracks One Out
Panto at Above the Stag.
5
26th Nov 18 :: Review: The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)
A musical of the musicals at Above the Stag.
5
22nd Nov 18 :: Review: Christmas at Kew
Kew Gardens Christmas night walk.
4
20th Nov 18 :: Review: Benidorm Live!
Touring show seen in Bristol.
2
11th Nov 18 :: Review: Brendan Cole - All Night Long
See on tour in Weston-super-Mare
3
11th Nov 18 :: Review: Landscape/A Kind of Alaska/Monologue
Part of the Pinter at the Pinter season.
5
11th Nov 18 :: Review: The Height of the Storm
London run with Jonathan Pryce and Eileen Atkins.
4
6th Nov 18 :: Review: Exodus
Seen at the Finborough.
4
6th Nov 18 :: Review: Billy Bishop Goes to War
Production seen at the Jermyn Street Theatre.
4

Most Popular Stories

16th Jan 19 :: Review: Extra Virgin
Seen at Above the Stag.
11th Jan 19 :: Review: Motown the Musical
Touring production seen at the Bristol Hippodrome.
12th Jan 19 :: Dr Dolittle
Tour pulled after poor pre-sales
9th Jan 19 :: Les Mis Moving
Les Mis is to move whilst the Queen's Theatre is revamped.
5th Dec 18 :: Review: A Christmas Carol
A new adaptation at the Bristol Old Vic.
13th Dec 18 :: Review: Chasing Bono
Seen at the Soho Theatre.
20th Nov 18 :: Review: Benidorm Live!
Touring show seen in Bristol.
1st Nov 18 :: Review: Jersey Boys
Seen on tour in Bristol.
5th Dec 18 :: Review: Chloe and the Colour Catcher
Kids Christmas show at the Bristol Old Vic
17th Dec 18 :: Review: The Boy Under the Christmas Tree
Seen at the King's Head Theatre.

SeatChoice Blog

UKTW Review Round-up 2018
A quick round-up of the numbers from UKTW's 2018 reviews.
SIT-Up Awards
Announced today, two new awards during the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe to support theatre for social change.
Society for Theatre Research - Theatre Book Prize
The judges have announced their shortlist for the prize for books published in 2017.
Reasons to be Graeae
Pioneering disabled-led theatre company Graeae, launch their long awaited biographical book Reasons to be Graeae: A work in progress.
RSC eBay Auction
RSC costume auction ends this month
Google and Secondary Tickets
Google to tighten rules on ticket resale.
The RSC's Stitch-In-Time
The RSC's costume department needs your help.
UK’s First Musical Theatre Cruise
Internationally acclaimed choreographer and TV personality Arlene Phillips will be hitting the high seas with Glitz, Glamour and Gossip onboard the UK’s first ever fully immersive musical theatre cruise.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Autobiography
To be released March 2018 - pre-order now
Empty Space Award
The winner of the 2017 Empty Space...Peter Brook Award 2017 announced.

SeatChoice theatre blog»

© Dynamic Listing Ltd, UK
1995-2019
PRIVACY and GDPR
Tickets by SeatChoice
Listings powered by Dynamic Listing Ltd

Developed and Maintained by RMJIoldGoogle+ Author

Cookies in Use