OLD TIMES To 8 November.


by Harold Pinter.

Theatre by the Lake Studio In rep to 8 November 2014.
8pm98, 10, 14, 15, 20, 25, 30, 31 Oct, 3, 8 Nov.
2pm 15, 25, 30 Oct, 8 Nov.
Runs 1hr 45min One interval.

TICKETS: 017687 74411.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 13 August.

Intriguing revival of play where Pinter branched-out.
This is the 1971 play in which Harold Pinter went upmarket. Gone are the scruffy rooms and flats where his earlier plays are set, or even the spacious working-class home of 1965’s The Homecoming. Instead, Pinter shows an affluent pair, Deeley and Kate, in their comfortable home near the sea.

The interruption to the presumed even tenor of their lives arrives with Kate’s old friend Anna. Memories of younger, poorer days in London seem to bind the characters’ lives in the old days. These memories, including a cinema visit, suggest past associations now concealed from view. Or faultlines fissured by wishful thinking.

Providing enough specifics to launch a thousand interpretations, the play’s most significant aspect is the invasiveness of the memories. Anna, unlike many characters in earlier Pinter, is not an uninvited or unwelcome guest. But the intimacies of detail that emerge in conversation cross the bounds that would keep the reunion polite and safe. Memories become challenges, as do the fragments of popular songs characters recall in a comic-edged positioning for power.

Mary Papadima’s Keswick production emphasises the sexual nature of the provocative behaviour. Deeley repeatedly tried to pull the conversation back to straight, factual lines, while Kate and Anna, separately, or possibly in a partnership which may be unselfconscious, draw him towards a world where the memory creates the nature of the moment remembered.

Papadima’s cast create these separate worlds, Rebecca Todd’s Kate moving increasingly towards Anna’s manner as Liam Smith’s Deeley becomes evermore insistent on the common-sense here-and-now. If he can’t establish its superior reality against the distant crash of sea-waves, he holds to it as an abstract talisman for his male mind against what seems to him the dreamy abstraction of the women’s intertwining involvement with each other’s memories.

The element of contest is clear, with the sea suggested by Anna Pilcher Dunn’s side panels and Sanne Noppen’s occasional sound waves supporting the suggestive world of memory and abstraction. This is a play which fits snugly in a studio and Keswick’s revival provides coherence and clarity through its shafts of humour and skein of unspoken tensions.

Anna: Katie Hayes.
Kate: Rebecca Todd.
Deeley: Liam Smith.

Director: Mary Papadima.
Designer/Costume: Anna Pilcher Dunn.
Lighting: Jo Dawson.
Sound: Sanne Noppen.

2014-10-09 00:21:05

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