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The Caretaker


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#11 Alexandra

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:45 PM

tongue.gif  El Peter - you've been Pintered! I've had a similar experience as you so many times at Pinter plays. I've probably seen about 15 and enjoyed about 3.

#12 xTanyax

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 02:38 PM

This was the first pinter play i'd seen and really enjoyed it, I saw it on Saturday and thought it was brilliant in terms of acting all 3 were brilliant, maybe it was for this reason I enjoyed it the story doesn't really have much content but i do think this is a typical Pinter style

#13 Backdrifter

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 04:33 PM

Interesting comments, el peter. Apart from The Dwarfs, what other stage productions of HP's works have you seen? The only reason I ask is that many of his plays have the same "non-plot" approach. I always think that one of the keys to 'clicking' with his stuff is getting past that basic fact - his plays rarely have a plot as such, they're more explorations of themes and evoking atmospheres. For me, what's going on in this one is twofold: man who has tense relationship with his brother looks beyond his familial ties and takes in a stranger. But he realises that despite the tension between him and his sibling, that is the relationship that counts - especially when the stranger not only takes the offered hospitality for granted, but also starts picking holes in it. And he ends up coming to an understanding with his brother. The other strand for me is from the viewpoint of the tramp, Davies - by that end point, he is cast out because he didn't appreciate the kindness being offered. It really is a play about taking care.

Pinter examines these sorts of themes not through plots, but glimpses into the world of those characters. Some will say that's an easy way out - it takes skill and artistry to construct a beginning/middle/end plot. Yes it does, but that doesn't negate the HP approach, which in its own way also demands skill and artistry, just in a different way.

It's a shame you didn't enjoy it - I have to say, I'm on the side of those who laud it, although I personally prefer other HP plays. But you seem quite a fan of his screen work. I wonder if that's because in those, he's adapting plot-driven pieces and that's more your thing? I love The Servant and Accident but I don't think I've ever seen The Go Between, despite loving the novel.
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#14 El Peter

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 08:32 PM

Backdrifter, your explanation in a few lines of what is going on in 'The Caretaker' is helpful. I wish I'd known that before I saw it.

I saw 'Waiting for Godot' at the old Mercury Theatre in Notting Hill Gate in the early-mid 1970s and went just as unprepared. I was perplexed and irritated. Years later when I discovered that "it's a play in which nothing happens, twice" and read the text, it all made sense. The waiting, whether for God, Second Coming or the Revolution, I'd understood from the start, just not the apparently pointless to-ing and fro-ing and time-passing.

That was the play-going experience that 'The Caretaker' reminded me of, and I had recognised many years subsequently that it was my lack rather than that of Samuel Beckett. The films of all his plays that had been recorded in Dublin for an anniversary year several years ago and shown on Channel 4, helped humanise and put in colour Beckett, thanks to some fine performances from the likes of Sean Foley among others.

'The Caretaker' and 'The Dwarfs' are the only Pinter plays I've seen on stage. I have seen 'stagey' filmed versions of 'The Homecoming' (featuring Vivien Merchant and Ian Holm) and 'The Birthday Party' (featuring Colin Blakely, Ken Cranham and Harold Pinter as I recall) broadcast on TV. A few years ago, in a BBC2 block of programmes on Pinter one night, were shown later plays featuring Pinter himself as an interrogator/policeman, and in another, Pinter as a political spokesman giving a press conference. Both creepy, and 'situations' rather than 'plots'. More recently, on More4, was shown enjoyable 40-50 minute play 'Celebration'.    

Though I'll accept 'situation' when I know what's going on, indeed I do prefer something plot-driven and with developed characters, even if it's a Tarantino-style beginning/middle/end structure chopped up and rearranged. There's a bit of that kind of intercutting, with flashbacks, in 'The Go-Between', which you'd like. Julie Christie, Alan Bates and Michael Redgrave lead an illustrious cast, with a lovely soundtrack.

#15 Vic

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:47 PM

I went to see the Caretaker at the Tricycle this week and thought it was a fantastic performance. The three main characters are superb, Con O'Neil's portrayal of Aston is particularly worth a mention- the character's vulnerability comes through brilliantly. The Tricycle is a nice little theatre, makes for quite an intimate performance. I had read the Caretaker before and did not see the comedy in it, however there are many very funny moments. It's definitely worth going to see.

#16 hollygolightly

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 09:08 PM

Could someone tell me how long the play is/what time it finishes? Just wondering so I can sort out my train.  Thanks smile.gif

#17 Vic

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 09:54 PM

QUOTE(hollygolightly @ Apr 4 2007, 10:08 PM) View Post
Could someone tell me how long the play is/what time it finishes? Just wondering so I can sort out my train.  Thanks smile.gif


If you are going to an evening show it will finish at about 10.30

#18 Guest_Skylight_*

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 01:59 AM

So I made my annual trip to the Trike and for once I wasn't dominated by thoughts concerning the comparatively late start and the subsequent rush to make the last train home.  Don't get me wrong, it's still a pain in the ass place to get to and I still hate the journey home but this time I didn't care because the play was so awesome.  If you like Pinter or you just want to see some superb acting and you can get there in the next week then go.  It's possibly the best production of any Pinter that I've seen and I've seen quite a few (including Pinter directing Donald Pleasance).  The person I went with insisted that the credit should go to the actors rather than the director but frankly it was so good that I can't even be bothered to argue about it.  I'm very surprised by comments that suggest that it's complicated or difficult to follow as I thought it was exceptionally clear.  Yes it's theatrical and stagey in parts and up until now I've never really thought of Pinter as being theatrical and stagey but, let's face it much as he might still want to be seen as current, Pinter is a period piece these days so theatrical and stagey is appropriate.  David Bradley and Con O'Neill were as good as I expected them to be and Nigel Harman was a revelation.   This deserves a west end run and Olivier nominations; it won't get them of course but there's still a week left to catch it if you can.

#19 hollygolightly

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Posted 08 April 2007 - 05:19 PM

QUOTE(Vic @ Apr 4 2007, 10:54 PM) View Post
If you are going to an evening show it will finish at about 10.30


Thank you smile.gif

#20 Jan Brock

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 01:16 PM

QUOTE(Skylight @ Apr 6 2007, 02:59 AM) View Post
David Bradley and Con O'Neill were as good as I expected them to be and Nigel Harman was a revelation.   This deserves a west end run and Olivier nominations; it won't get them of course but there's still a week left to catch it if you can.


I agree. David Bradley's performance is the best I have seen so far this year - he was better in this play than Michael Gambon and Donald Pleasance (in the 1980s revival anyway).




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