Old Times - 1993
 
 

Programme Cover

Old Times, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 22 Oct - 20 Nov 1993

Deeley - Tim Pigott-Smith
Kate - Carol Royle
Anna - Estelle Kohler

Directed by Bill Alexander

Designer - Ruari Murchison
Lighting Designer - Tim Mitchell
Original Music - Johnathan Goldstein
Company Manager - Sally Isern
Stage Manager - Jane Appleyard



Review by Michael Billington
It's a long way to the coffee-table, said the lady behind me. She had a point. Watching Harold Pinterís tense, intimate three-hander, Old Times, in the big Birmingham Rep, is a bit like seeing Godot in Madison Square Garden. But Bill Alexanderís new production is so beautifully cast and so alert to every nuance of Pinterís power battle that we soon forget the open spaces of the fawn-carpeted circular stage.
On one level, it is clear what Pinterís play is about: possession and memory. Deeley, an apparently successful film-maker and the enigmatic Anna engage in a running duel over their ownership of the formerís wife, Kate. In the battle for supremacy, each character deploys memories, both real and invented.
Each new production adds its own emphases and, in Alexander's hands, the play also becomes about the rapid breakdown of the civilized veneer. Tim Piggott-Smithís excellent Deeley starts as a suave, smooth figure who, finding his queen under threat, disintegrates into someone coarse, brutal and terrified. His memories of meeting Anna become a savage attempt at humiliation. When he senses Kate slipping from him, he cries: ĎNo, no, they can't take that away from me, there is naked desperation in his voice. It becomes not just a play about male insecurity but about the fragility of the bourgeois concept of ownership.
In this production, the physical complicity between the two women is strongly established. Estelle Kohlerís Anna is a smiling, crop-haired predator who relishes the battle with Deeley, luxuriates in Kateís presence and claims: I found her with proprietorial emphasis. Carol Royle, while showing undisguised warmth to her old friend, gives a new spin to Kate by suggesting there is something about the characterís incuriosity. Normally, the play comes across as Kate's victory, in that she remains independent. Here all three characters seem locked into a permanent frozen solitude. Itís a sign of the production's quality that, without violating Pinterís verbal rhythms, it fines new resonances in this haunting play.
The Guardian, 2 November 1993

 
Back to plays Main Page
                         
Amazon   Faber & Faber   Slate   Royal National Theatre   Comedie Francaise   Ticketmaster.co.uk   Samuel french
                         
Internal Links: Plays | Films | Biography | Poetry | Politics | Acting | Directing | Publications | Calendar | Links | Forum | Archive | Home
External Links: Faber and Faber | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | National Theatre | Comedie-Francaise | Gate Theatre | Ticketmaster | Auteurs.net | Slate | Amnesty
Other Items: The Observer | Letter to the Independent | Depleted Uranium | One For The Road | No Mans Homecoming | New World Order | Degree Speech
 
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.
 
© Harold Pinter 2000 - 2012 All Rights Reserved | Disclaimer
 
Ticketmaster.co.uk