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THE CARETAKER at the Old Vic

May 31, 2016

Now and again there is mystical alchemy of place, play and performance which gives that feeling of synchronisity by being exactly in the right place at the right time. I felt this watching Harold Pinter’s THE CARETAKER at the Old Vic.

Place is established from the outset by Rob Howell’s design as I took my seat in row K and felt the damp air that drifted from the huge pitched roof on stage with rain falling and bouncing off it. These ten minutes of almost meditation took me from the auditorium into the perfect place for this play. The roof lifts and the entire three sided attic set glides forward through the proscenium arch breaking the fourth wall and taking us deeper into the place.

Play had the heritage of Harold Pinter’s name although I don’t know his plays like I know others for instance Ibsen. I saw Harold Pinter once, back in 2003 whilst I lived in London. He was speaking in the theatre in opposition of the Iraq War and he certainly had a passion for truth. His passion for truth drips through this play just as the rain falls on the roof throughout the entire play. Pinter pulls off that mastery of educating us about the human condition whilst entertaining us with interesting and engaging characters.

Performance by George MacKay, Daniel Mays and Timothy Spall are master classes in acting. Each of these men gives a humility to their characters which make them real people with real edge. All three of them give performances which electrified the air connecting us to them. Daniel Mays portrayal of one of life’s real unfortunates was genuinely upsetting yet was balanced by the portrayal of the completely off the wall brother by George MacKay. Timothy Spall inhabits his film portrayals and on stage he achieves even more impact with Pinter’s astoundingly irredeemable rogue. Most of all I was incredibly impressed with the generosity of Timothy Spall’s performance which gave this play a perfect balance between the three characters.

Remarkable.

The caretaker (3)

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