Pinter Five: The Room, Victoria Station, & Family Voices

Pinter Five: The Room, Victoria Station, & Family Voices, by Harold Pinter

The Jamie Lloyd Company / directed by Patrick Marber

Seen on January 10, 2019

Score: 3.5 / 5

At first glance, not much unites the plays brought together in this triple bill: the harrowing obfuscations of The Room, the weighted humour of Victoria Station, and the poetic disintegrations of Family Voices are not necessarily perfect bedfellows. But what they do, when put into such close proximity with one another, is to testify to the rich variety of Pinter’s work. That, and they sleekly draw our attention to how estrangements of language and speech are part and parcel of his dramatic imagination. What gets spoken, what remains unsaid, what resists verbalisation: these are the narrative and philosophical corners that constitute the architecture of each of these three one-acts.

Of the three, The Room is by far the most satisfactorily imagined on stage, as well as the one whose atmospheric impact is the boldest. Jane Horrocks is fascinating as the on-edge Rose Hudd, and Colin McFarlane gives a finely cryptic performance as Riley. Victoria Station takes unexpected turns and redeems its bland opening, though its static blocking could have been adjusted in certain ways. Similarly, the abstracted realism of Family Voices could have accommodated riskier choices in both staging and design. Much of the play’s verbal beauty gets sidetracked by its somewhat boring blocking and uninspired set. Yet both Jane Horrocks and Luke Thallon fuel this hard piece with meticulously calibrated performances, handsomely straddling the line between past and present, memory and desire. On the whole, this fifth instalment of the Pinter season has its ups and downs, but it’s certainly worth seeing.

 

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