The Dwarfs - London 1991

Programme Cover

The Dwarfs, The White Bear Theatre,
London, 12 March - 7 April 1991

Mark - Duncan Brown
Len - Steven O'Shea
Pete - Martin Sadoski

Directed by Aaron Mullen
Lighting - Rachel Coward
Stage Manager - Kirstie Davis

Review by Michael Wright
Adapted by Pinter from his first and only novel The Dwarfs, is, on the page, a sketchy and rather difficult work, like a jigsaw with more than half of the pieces missing. But here, in Mandrake TCís darkly sparkling production, it is immaculately brought to life, brimming with a mixture of coal-black humour, psychotic tension, and unexpected poignancy. The startling clarity of Aaron Mullenís direction and the high-resolution acting of the three-man cast amply repay the intellectual demands that the work places on the audience.
Best of all is Steven OíSheaís delicately modulated portrayal of Len, the disturbed railway porter who dreams up ëthe dwarfsí as allies in his private battle to come to grips with reality. OíShea has thought out and timed every line and gesture to near-perfection, without allowing his meticulousness to become overcooked à la Dustin Hoffman. His sensitivity is well-matched by Martin Sadofski and Duncan Brown in the other roles; all three are helped by the tatty ambience of Sandra Chalmersís simple set, which basks in the yellow glow of Rachel cowardís minimal but perfectly judged lighting, suggesting the atmosphere of a faded, grainy photograph.
It is a shame that a production of such integrity and intelligence should be marred at the final hurdle: the superfluous repetition of the opening scene at the very end is a groaningly clichéd device which subverts the quiet optimism of Pinterís actual ending, and undermines the validity of all that has preceded it. The evening is very highly recommended, nevertheless.
Time Out, March 1991

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