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The Caretaker Press Reviews



The Caretaker
By Harold Pinter

Published in the Bordon Herald

Any story should have a beginning, a middle or an end, or should it? Harold Pinter challenges the audience to identify the points that make up a play, and in challenging asks “why?”

“Where is the beginning? Where is the end? You sort it out; I will write an awful lot of middle. I have to write the play, why shouldn’t you the audience do some of the work? Why should I provide simple entertainment? Sit there, enjoy my prose, but think?”

OK, let us think Mr Pinter. They said forty years ago that you were a genius, are we prepared to concur?

Like all playwrights Mr Pinter you need actors to deliver your lines with competence, or to kiss them with that … well you know what I mean. Luckily on this night at The Phoenix you had three actors who not only delivered your lines with a realism that made me forget that I know two of them quite well, but actors who responded to your written dialogue.

And what a dialogue. It flowed; it paused, then flowed again – an outpouring of words. Words that allowed even the most inadequate person and these were inadequate persons, to establish an identity, to create a character. Davies, the tramp befriended by Aston and invited to share his humble attic; Aston, who in one long speech described his treatment in a psychiatric hospital; and his brother, the apparently sinister Mick, who never once shared the stage with his brother. Instead, in expressing a loyalty to his mentally flawed brother, chose to confide in the tramp, Davies, or was that really his name? We will never know, for until he could locate his ‘papers’ he could not establish his identity. All three were seeking a way ahead, but like us all, and this is where Pinter scores - he addresses the very soul of us all, the way ahead remained a dream. Davies, usually due to inadequate footwear, was never going to get his papers; Aston was never going to build his shed; and Mick, the builder, was never going to turn this run down building into his idea of 60’s chic. This we discovered when Mr Pinter had taken us full circle. Nothing was resolved, unless deep within our own subconscious, we realised our own inadequacies. This was a play, not for the feint hearted, but a play performed by three actors whose skill evoked all the emotions - Pathos, foreboding, hope, helplessness and even a deep, underlying humour.

Did I enjoy it? I certainly enjoyed the superb acting and direction. I enjoyed the superb dialogue, but wait, I saw too much of myself in these social misfits. Mr Pinter, whether I liked your play or not I will not forget this evening at the theatre, and so, like you, I come full circle!