The Caretaker by Harold Pinter (Old Vic)

[Guest review by Howard Feldman]

In Warchus’ revival of Pinter’s 1960 classic The Caretaker, I was blown away by Spall’s performance of Mac Davies. It was hard to believe there was an actor inside the oversized coat, portraying a scruffy homeless man with occasionally stammering speech.  The character is normally humble and meek but would venture into assertiveness when he thought he might get away with it; immediately backing off when the wind shifted.

Much of the script humour went to George MacKay, playing the straight, serious, and fast-talking Mick.  His character seemed a bit one-dimensional, but perhaps that’s just what Pinter had in mind to give Davies a stark contrast.

george-mackay-mick-timothy-spall-davies-in-the-caretaker-at-the-old-vic-photo-by-manuel-harlan-6-549x357
[Timothy Spall (right) and George MacKay (left) | Photo credit: Manuel Harlan]

Designer Rob Howell probably enjoyed putting together the set, complete with peeling wallpaper, water stains and piles of junk.  It was a feast for the eyes, as the characters uncovered everything from a bed to a pair of brown shoelaces beneath the rubble.

Three hours seems a long time to sit through a play where the plot crawls along, but the two intervals helped.  I wouldn’t have edited out one minute.

⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

The Caretaker, by Harold Pinter
Directed by Matthew Warchus
Starring George MacKay, Daniel Mays, and Timothy Spall
Designed by Rob Howell
Old Vic until 14th May 2016
http://www.oldvictheatre.com/whats-on/2016/the-caretaker/

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