Jane Doyle Reviews: The Caretaker

13/03/2012
By: JBurns
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The Caretaker
Her Majesty’s Theatre
Until March 23rd

Rating: **** Classy classic

There is a magical quality to dramatic performance when it convinces utterly. When, as a viewer, you don’t even think of the actor behind the character but become enthralled in the story unfolding.

Jonathan Pryce’s portrayal of Davies in this celebrated UK production of Pinter’s The Caretaker (reputedly the late author’s favourite) is one such performance.

From the moment he enters the dusty, dishevelled room he comes to share with the damaged Aston (Alan Cox) there is no doubting the authenticity of this down-at-heel man-of-the-street, living by his wits and rat cunning.

He’s well placed to take advantage of the vulnerable Aston – gently and genteelly realised by Cox – but finds the mocking menace of Aston’s younger brother Mick (Alex Hassell) more challenging to navigate.

This exploration of the human condition is as relevant in 2012 as it was when written in the sixties and sadly the disenfranchisement of these three “losers” is just as familiar.

Cox’s tender rendering of Aston’s poignant monologue revealing the damage he suffered at the hands of shock therapists is no less affecting for our long knowledge of such practices. 

How we best care and provide for our most damaged and vulnerable remains unresolved. Pinter’s brilliant mirror reflects as sharply now as it ever did and Pryce, ably supported by Cox and Hassell, makes this production impossible to look away from.
 

Performance Details here

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