The Caretaker

20 Oct

This is a brilliant production of a brilliant play.

Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker is a remarkable portrait of lost souls. It features the most extraordinary dialogue, characters who speak as so many of us do:

In circumlocution.

In repetition.

In sentences that begin confidently and assured, only to ……

In awe of that single word or phrase we believe has a magical power.

In repetition.

In blustered, unearned high modality.

In low modality’s whispered reluctance.

In each utterance, each silence, language as the angel with whom we must wrestle to earn our birthright.

Iain Sinclair’s cast are sensational. They make us savour every syllable of Pinter’s text. And the physicality is hilarious. The sequence in which the three characters dispute ownership of a bag is magnificent. Darren Gilshenan as Davies, the man down on his luck, a stray who wags his tail now and bares his fangs then, delivers a performance of comic genius. (And I don’t mean it’s played just for laughs, but rather as a fully paid-up card-carrying member of the human comedy, as complete as it comes on that fantastical far side of the fourth wall.) Anthony Gooley as Aston, the man who offers Davies shelter, is gentle, slow, measured…. a mystery, that when revealed, is deeply affecting. Henry Nixon’s Mick is manic and volatile, the perfect foil to his brother’s quiet.

In one small, simple room these three performances reveal a world – one of damaged individuals longing to be whole. I left the theatre overwhelmed by two feelings:

wonder at what this artform can do,

and desire to cut each and every crazy broken soul just a little slack.

Paul Gilchrist

The Caretaker by Harold Pinter

Ensemble until 19 Nov  

Image by Prudence Upton

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