Tony Jones, Zoë Wanamaker and Stephen Mangan are to appear in a new production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party which will run at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 9 January 2018 until 14 April 2018. Stanley Webber (Toby Jones) is the only lodger at Meg (Zoë Wanamaker) and Petey Boles’ sleepy seaside boarding house. The unsettling arrival of enigmatic strangers Goldberg (Stephen Mangan) and McCann disrupts the humdrum lives of the inhabitants and their friend Lulu, and mundanity soon becomes menace when a seemingly innocent birthday party turns into a disturbing nightmare. Truth and alliances hastily shift in Pinter’s brilliantly mysterious dark-comic masterpiece about the absurd terrors of the everyday. The Birthday Party is to be directed by Ian Rickson and produced by Sonia Friedman. This will be the seventh Harold Pinter play that Sonia Friedman has produced, three of which have been directed by Ian Rickson, who also … Read more
The revival of Harlequinade, directed by Branagh and Ashford, now playing at the Garrick Theatre (in a 100 minute experience that includes All On Her Own and no intervals) is something of a revelation. Mostly, Harlequinade is seen in conjunction with The Browning Version, one of Rattigan’s masterpieces, usually as a curtain raiser. To my mind, that combination has never worked and Harlequinade has always seemed pale and irksome by comparison with The Browning Version. But, here, released from the curtain raiser position, placed directly in the spotlight, splendidly set up by the intense darkness of All On Her Own, the play can shine.
It has been announced today that Zoë Wanamaker will join the cast of Harlequinade alongside John Dalgleish when the play is performed by the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company as part of its Plays At The Garrick Season. Wanamaker will take on the role of Dame Maud In Harelquinade. In addition she will perform Terence Rattigan’s dramatic monologue All On Her Own, which has never been seen in the West End as a double bill with Harlequinade. Fresh from his award-winning performance in Sunny Afternoon, John Dalgleish will join the casts of both Harlequinade and The Winter’s Tale. Kenneth Branagh said: “Zoë Wanamaker is a brilliant comedienne and a great tragic actress too. In joining us for the Rattigan comedy we seized on the opportunity to let her show us the dramatic side of a playwright also known as ‘the English Chekhov’. The rarely seen All On Her Own provides a … Read more
In the title role, Zoe Wanamaker is in terrific form. She is wholly believable as a woman out of place in the world but entirely at home in the confines of her abode. Lynda Baron is superbly sweet as Aunt Lion, the tough old spinster who runs the house where Stevie lives. Men played little more than an accessory role in Stevie’s life and aspects of that are summed up in the three characters played by Chris Larkin, whose best moment comes when he recites Smith’s Drowning, Not Waving, possibly her most famous poem. It’s a beautiful moment in a quietly engaging, gentle play.