[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.
[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