Review – Old Times at Harold Pinter Theatre

Old Times by Harold PinterAnyone who has ever struggled with writing a play knows that the key lies in skilfully handled subtext. Harold Pinter is an absolute master of this technique, and he uses it superbly in Old Times, his 80-minute play currently on show at The Harold Pinter Theatre close to Leicester Square.

In Ian Rickson’s production, the set is simple – a chair, two sofas which later become beds, softly-curtained windows that allow in varying qualities of light.

Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia WilliamsThe play begins as Kate and her husband Deeley are awaiting the arrival of Kate’s best, or only, friend Anna, back in touch after 20 years apart. The two female roles are played alternately by Kristin Scott Thomas and Lia Williams – a detail that while insignificant if you only see it once, seems particularly apt given the ambiguities the play unfurls. In the performance I saw Scott Thomas was a deliciously self-contained yet sensuous Kate, Anna played a brittle, chatty Anna, while Rufus Sewell wittered, barked and wept like a sort of attention-seeking hound.

The reunion is wonderfully played, with resentments, insinuations, lies and much unspoken intrigue simmering throughout. As Kate heads off to take a bath, revelations surface between Deeley and Anna, and it is revealed s that the three are far more deeply entwined than we’d been led to believe. Then Kate re-enters and it becomes clear that the old adage is true – it’s the quiet ones you have to watch.

If that seems unclear, it’s because nothing is concrete in this play. Much is said, and more left unsaid. I suggest you watch it, draw your own conclusions, and then go for a drink.

Old Times is on at Harold Pinter Theatre until 06 April 2013.



Sunshine and romance

Buds appearing cr Judy DarleyToday is one of those days when it feels like spring might actually almost be here. Recently I saw my first primroses and this morning I’ve noticed shiny little buds appearing in the garden.

Valentine's card cr Judy DarleyYesterday, of course, was Valentine’s Day, which necessitated me making a card for my hubla. Inspired by Iviva Olenick’s creations, this is what I came up with.

He cooked me dinner (bacon and mushroom pancakes, just a day late!) and we went to Watershed to see Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. What a gorgeous film! Wed actually had a small row on the way there (isn’t that obligatory on Valentine’s Day?), and were snuggling and kissing (our apologies to the lone man who sat beside us…) by the time the credits rolled. The power of storytelling, mmm?

Annex - Hepburn, Audrey (Roman Holiday)_03

Today is one of my lovely writing days, and my main goal is to finish writing up the first draft of an interview with a woman who seems to live in a swirl of crocheted art, flowers and sunshine – I really need to find some new synonyms for the word colour.

Then tomorrow I’m off to London to catch up with a dear friend and see the Harold Pinter play Old Times. Can’t wait, even if it does mean a dawn scurry to the Mega Bus!