THE DUMB WAITER
by Harold Pinter.
The Print Room 32 Hereford Road W2 5AJ To 23 November 2013.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 3.30pm.
Runs 55min No interval.
TICKETS:020 7221 6036.
Review: Francis Grin 28 October.
The Print Room celebrates a timeless playwright.
It’s difficult to collect Harold Pinter’s plays under one stylistic umbrella, as he himself denied or retracted most labels (including ‘Comedy of Menace’ and the ‘Weasel under the Cocktail Cabinet’). Yet, Pinter consistently crafts claustrophobic worlds where characters struggle against their inevitable fates and language becomes the only tool for a false sense of control.
The Print Room celebrates Pinter’s writing with their poignant production of The Dumb Waiter. Two hit-men embark on their latest assignment, only to realize that one of them is the next target. Typically with Pinter, there is little talk of the main task; discussions revolve around tea, the news, the quality of the room and anything else the two men can think of to avoid their present fate.
Jamie Glover’s excellent, precise direction brings Pinter’s work to life, with a production where pacing and pauses are flawlessly executed. Every silence has been carefully placed.
The success is helped by performers Joe Armstrong (Gus) and Clive Wood (Ben), who expertly embrace one of the most vital aspects of the play – subtext. Every expression, every pause, and every line is carefully delivered and carries within it a weight much greater than what is actually being said. When Gus requests the two go out for a night, he isn’t asking to simply go out for a pint, he’s begging to leave this world that they’re in.
Noteworthy also is the excellent design by Andrew D Edwards. In this dungeon-esque bleak dormitory, we suddenly get a glimpse of the terrifying space that these men will most likely never leave.
Although I would argue that this is not one of Pinter’s most powerful plays (especially when considering works such as The Homecoming) I can appreciate The Print Room’s choice to stage this play, as it truly celebrates and encapsulates the voice of one of Britain’s most ground breaking playwrights.
Gus: Joe Armstrong.
Ben: Clive Wood.
Director: Jamie Glover.
Designer: Andrew D Edwards.
Lighting: James Whiteside.
Sound: Peter Rice.
Fight director: Kate Waters.