Pinter Perplexes And Perturbs In Double Bill

Pinter Four, Harold Pinter Theatre ★★★☆☆

Neil Dowden
By Neil Dowden Last edited 6 months ago

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

Pinter Perplexes And Perturbs In Double Bill Pinter Four, Harold Pinter Theatre 3
Photo: Marc Brenner

The fourth in the seven-show season of Harold Pinter short plays is a double bill of lesser-known works. Moonlight is a haunting, enigmatic drama about a divided family, while Night School is in the more familiar Pinteresque style of comedy of menace laced with erotic tension.

In Moonlight a dying civil servant hectors his long-suffering wife while recalling an affair he once had. Meanwhile, their estranged sons are playing funny role-playing games, and the ghostly presence of their teenage daughter emerges in the moonlight. Robert Glenister's arrogantly demanding patriarch is nicely contrasted by the self-contained pragmatism of Brid Brennan.

Lyndsey Turner's dreamlike production suggests this deathbed drama shot through with surreal comedy may actually be taking place in the feverish mind of the father. But the play's self-conscious evasiveness irritates as much as it intrigues.

Night School, on the other hand, is more accessible. A petty forger returns home from his latest spell in prison to find that his two aunts have let his room to a young female schoolteacher. Suspecting the night school she claims to attend is a hostess nightclub, he asks his tax-dodging landlord to investigate in a tale of predatory male sexual obsession.

Al Weaver amuses as the small-time crook smitten with Jessica Barden's sensually elusive tenant. Glenister plays the sleazy property owner as a self-aggrandizing gangster, while Brennan and Janie Dee provoke big laughs as the two dotty eavesdropping aunts fighting over the tea trolley laden with cakes. Ed Stambollouian's imaginative production uses live drumming to give the entertainment a bit of an edge.

Pinter Four, Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton Street, SW1Y 4DN, £15-£99.50. Until 8 December.

Last Updated 15 November 2018