Tuesday, October 24, 2017

'The Caretaker' by Harold Pinter

24 October 2017

On Saturday we were at the Royal Theatre in Northampton to see Christopher Haydon’s production of ‘The Caretaker’ by Harold Pinter – a joint production by Bristol Old Vic and the Royal & Derngate, Northampton. I had only seen ‘The Caretaker’ once before, many years ago, but the play’s three characters were still very familiar. I was struck by the similarities with Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ which premiered (in English) in 1955, five years before ‘The Caretaker’, and has a similar sense of ennui (and a similar fascination with the importance of a good pair of shoes). Christopher Haydon’s production features an all-black cast, led by Patrice Naiambana as Davies, which lends a particular frisson to that character’s casual racism. The movement of all three actors was particularly impressive, with each adopting a very distinctive physical style. And Oliver Townsend’s wonderful set focuses the action around a circular stage with floorboards emanating outwards from a central point and an array of oddments of furniture and other collected junk hung vertiginously around the space like a frozen explosion in Steptoe & Son’s yard. ‘The Caretaker’ is a strange play, with little plot but a series of fascinating exchanges and a nagging, sinister atmosphere. This was a very impressive production: you can get a brief flavour of it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=69&v=T7MqziZl1Vw

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