Harold Pinter Proves a Stage Star at National

News   Harold Pinter Proves a Stage Star at National

Friday night saw a starry cast perform - under the direction of Gari Jones - a selection of Harold Pinter's brief, comic, sketches.

That's Your Trouble (1959), The Black and White (1959), Tess (2000), Trouble in the Works (1959) and Press Conference (2002) are rarely seen examples of Pinter's writing, though The Black and White and Trouble in the Works were done in the 2000 Jermyn Street Revue, directed by Sheridan Morley.

This first program of sketches (the second and last is on Feb. 11) were given an added interest by being performed on the set of Pinter's No Man's Land at the Lyttleton auditorium at the National Theatre. Along with the laughs was a sense of poignancy and regret, for the last, newly written sketch, Press Conference, was acted in by Pinter himself.

Playing the part of a government minister (sometime Chief of Secret Police, now Culture Minister) he gave a powerful, rich and darkly comic performance which was counterpointed by the evidence of his recently announced cancer. His hair showed signs of chemotherapy, but his voice, bearing and command of the stage (not to mention his writing) were those of a man still in his prime, and the audience responded accordingly.

—by Paul Webb