The Dumb Waiter - Premiere

Programme Cover

First produced at the Hampstead Theatre Club 21 January 1960 and subsequently transferred to the Royal Court Theatre 8 March 1960 with TheRoom.

Ben - Nicholas Selby
Gus - George Tovey

Directed by James Roose Evans
Designer - Michael Young

The Dumb Waiter and The Room March 1960
It is a rare excitement to welcome the strange and compelling talent of Harold Pinter into the West End. The first of these plays is a dialogue between two men hired to commit a murder. The second deals with a garrulous, pathetic woman who receives a peculiar and disturbing visitor. The first thing to be said about both plays is that they are extremely funny. The humour is not verbal; it is of that best kind which proceeds from character. Their second virtue is that they uncover, with that indirection which is so much more impressive than straightforward statement, the unease and violence of our times. Thirdly, the observation of personality is unusual and acute. The contrast, for example, between the indifference of Ben and Gus in The Dumb Waiter to the dreadful thing they are going to do and their puzzled solicitude for the victim of an ordinary street accident is profound and unsettling. James Rose Evans and Anthony Page direct the plays with absolute certainty. They are acted by Nicholas Selby, George Toney, and Vivien Merchant with grim and amusing brilliance. There is poetry in them too. Listen to Michael Brennanís story of the exultation of driving a van on an icy road. It is not Racine, perhaps; but it has more than a little of the illegitimate passion of ëPhedreí.

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Harold Pinter's work is represented by Judy Daish Associates Limited - and applications for all performances and uses of Harold Pinter's work (including amateur and professional stage performances, radio broadcasts, television transmissions and readings and use of extracts) need to be addressed to them in the first instance and in advance of finalizing your plans. Judy Daish Associates will then contact the Estate of Harold Pinter (Lady Antonia Fraser Pinter) if appropriate. The Estate should not be contacted directly for permissions. Please do not assume that a licence or permission will be forthcoming as there are sometimes conflicts between permission requests.
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