John O’Brien has reviewed “Betrayal” by Harold Pinter currently showing at the Harold Pinter Theatre:- First off I should declare that Charlie Cox is my wife’s cousin. So caveat emptor or reader beware. This production of “Betrayal”, Harold Pinter’s 1978 play about his extramarital affair with Joan Bakewell, the so […]
Posted by Family Affairs on 27-04-2011 in BLOG / REVIEWS tagged with Covent Garden / Donmar Warehouse / Harold Pinter / Moonlight
I took Builder Bloke to the theatre last night as part of his birthday present to see “Moonlight” by Harold Pinter. This was a relatively high risk strategy given that he is not a theatre goer by nature and if there is a even a whiff of a song or any suggestion that it is even vaguely connected to a musical then he has been known to leave the building.
There were a number of positives I considered before choosing this particular play with him in mind:-
a) It is a very short play (70 mins)
b) It is written by somebody we had both heard of
c) It was being performed at the Donmar Warehouse in Covent Garden
d) It was near a pub
So. All good then. Until it started and made virtually no sense whatsoever. I had a WTF is going on feeling all the way through.
It’s all about a dying man. He sits in his bed whilst various members of his family perform around him. He reflects throughout the play on his life – his affairs, his wife’s affairs, his estranged sons, his job as a civil servant and it is all, in the end, sad and hollow.
Quite funny in parts, but the script could have been so much better. We are left bereft of answers. Why does the ghost of his daughter keep appearing and being vague? What happened to her? How did she die? Did her death cause the family breakdown? Why are his sons such arseholes? OK, damaged hugely emotionally (and the actors portray this beautifully) but all they seem to do is list off a great stream of public school names in various different guises. Odd. I wanted to shout “STOP BEING SO VAGUE” all of you and just tell me what happened. Why do you all hate each other so much?
Nevertheless, owing to the spectacular performances, brilliant set, intimacy of the Donmar Warehouse (which I love because you can literally see right up the actors nostrils) we enjoyed it hugely. Had a rubbish post theatre discussion indicating how clueless we both were, but that didn’t matter in the least. It was the being there that counted.
If there is anybody out there who has a clue what this play is about then please let me know.
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