A star-studded cast has been assembled for Pinter at the Pinter, a season of short plays which shows the work of the Nobel Prize-winning writer in a new light.
If you haven’t seen Pinter before, this would be a good place to start, and if you have, this collection gives a fresh insight into the development of his work over the years. The essence of a style which coined the term “Pinteresque” is captured in a collection of poignant moments, pregnant pauses, awkward exchanges and fractured memories, punctuated by laughter at the absurdity of it all.
Pinter Three – Landscape / A Kind of Alaska / Monologue runs until 8 December at The Harold Pinter Theatre.
Comedian Lee Evans, who was tempted out of retirement to join the cast at the invitation of the playwright’s widow, Lady Antonia Fraser, last performed Pinter’s work in 2007, when he starred in The Dumb Waiter at Trafalgar Studios. Evans adds his own distinctive brand of physical humour to Monologue, playing a lonely man addressing an absent friend. He is joined by Meera Syal in Apart From That – a sketch first performed by Harold Pinter and Lady Antonia at a charity event in 2006.
Trouble in the Works teams Evans with Tom Edden in a sketch from 1959, an early precursor of the Monty Python style of humour, as the pair reel off a list of pointless parts made in a Northern factory, in a variation on the theme of “trouble at t’ mill”.
Tamsin Greig and Keith Allen team up for Landscape, which explores the themes of loneliness and isolation. In A Kind of Alaska, Greig plays Deborah, who awakes from sleep after 29 years and finding it hard to face her return to reality in the care of a doctor, played by Allen, clings to a dream world of fast-fading memories.
Penelope Wilton, who plays Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey, joins the cast for 12 special guest appearances to perform the monologue Tess, written for her by Pinter.
The season is presented by the Jamie Lloyd Company to mark the 10 th anniversary of the playwright’s death.
Pinter Four – Moonlight / Night School runs until 8 December and features a cast which includes Jessica Barden and Robert Glenister. Olivier Award-winner Lyndsey Turner directs Moonlight, and Ed Stambollouian directs Night School.
Pinter Five – The Room / Victoria Station / Family Voices runs from 13 December to 26 January. The cast for this triple bill includes Jane Horrocks, Emma Naomi, Rupert Graves and Nicholas Woodeson, directed by Patrick Marber.
Pinter Six – Party Time / Celebration is showing from 20 December to 26 January.
The cast includes Celia Imrie, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Gary Kemp and John Simm.
Pinter Seven – The Dumb Waiter / A Slight Ache runs from 31 January to 23 February. The final show in the Pinter season is directed by Jamie Lloyd and stars Danny Dyer and Martin Freeman.