What better way is there to unwind after a Saturday afternoon’s shopping in the heart of London’s famous West End, than to take in a late afternoon matinee for a spot of Harold Pinter?
So it was that at 3.30pm Andrew found himself perched precariously in row K of the Trafalgar Studios’ ludicrously raked auditorium (about eye-level with the top of the proscenium) watching the second preview of the new production of The Dumb Waiter.
Regular readers of this blog will already be wondering why. After all, it’s only five days since Andrew sat through the execrable Pinter’s People (“Directed with inexplicable incompetence”, The Independent) and the production blurb features again that terrifying epithet “rarely performed”.
But in his defence, the show is only 55 minutes long, the theatre is opposite the number 88 bus stop home and he needed to rest his arms by relieving himself of his numerous Fenwick bags and hat boxes in the nearest convenient aisle.
It’s difficult to judge the quality of a play when you just don’t get it and Andrew has never got Pinter. This one – about two hit men in a basement receiving unexpected orders for food through a dumb waiter – is particularly puzzling. Presumably it’s about something, but he has no idea what and an hour of non-sequiturs left him begging for a sequitur.
Comedian Lee Evans brings some entertaining physical comedy to the role of Gus. The role of Ben is played by Jason Isaac (Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films) who has an astonishing number of fan websites devoted to him including one entirely in Slovak.
If you like Pinter, you’ll probably like this production, but Andrew has had enough in the last week to last him a lifetime and confirms that he won’t be joining The Pinter Society any time soon.
Footnote: This very amusing anecdote appeared in Paul Taylor’s review of Pinter’s People in The Independent: “There’s a story (possibly apocryphal) that when Harold Pinter was lobbying to have the Comedy Theatre renamed the Pinter Theatre, Tom Stoppard’s response was to ask: “Have you thought of changing your name to Harold Comedy?”