Saturday, 24 October 2009

The Caretaker (Liverpool Everyman Theatre)

Jonathan Pryce makes his big return to the Liverpool Everyman, the theatre that made him, the theatre that has a big photo of 'Company of 1975' in the foyer that made me squawk with excited laughter -presumably Jonathan took the photo- at first glance I managed not to see Julie Walters right in the middle or Bill Nighy lurking behind, but only Nick Le Prevost of course and his magnificent hair.
While I was in America Jonathan had a few days off because of illness (I was frantically calling the theatre yesterday to check he'd be in the matinee we'd booked) I'm reckoning a cold because the theatre was so EFFING boiling that it could only be because the actors were cold, the audience was awash with sweat. Anna felt herself drifting away at one point becacuse of the heat but because I had been looking froward to seeing it of course I was wide awake and cramming in fondant fancies for a sugar buzz that would see me through the sleepy-heat of the second half.
Aside from the theatre, the play and the performances were top notch. Well, I'm not a Pinter fan, but this was definitley the performance of his classic to see; all three actors were very very good. Tom Brooke as the nasty brother was excellently scary and vicious, I imagine David Tennant (and even Jonathan himself back in 1980) would have played the role in a very similarly nasty and manic way. Good actor that boy, nice-but-dim in that awful Richard Curtis film and then convincingly terrifying in Pinter, tres impressive. The other brother (Peter MacDonald) was very good too, his monolgue was wonderful and his practically silent performance through the rest of the play was compelling too. And of course Jonathan Pryce does not disappoint, he plays a very real character which I imagine would be very easy to overplay, he's a sad figure but my favourite bits were as usual his physical comedy. I say as usual but lots of the times I've seen Jonathan on stage the bits I like are the horrific breakdowns, there wasn't one in this so I will cling to the tragi-comedy, the wag of a finger or the roll of an eye- the surpressed pleasure and appreciation for a second-hand smoking jacket.

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