This was a lastminute theatre trip for me, as a friend of mine had a last minute spare ticket (think, England, snow, partners at work and all that). I confess to not even asking “what we were going to see” and just coming along. I think that often that is the best way?! So I didn’t know that we were seeing “Old Times” nor that we were seeing a “Harold Pinter” play in London’s West End.
We arrived and I saw the posters. I confess, to still not really knowing anything. But I did see that Kristin Scott Thomas was in it and that looked promising.
- 90minutes NOT interval (that was a suprise)
- Play by Harold Pinter, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Rufus Sewell and Lia Williams. Directed by Ian Rickson
A play in four scenes about 3 people. The play begins with a couple (Kate & Deeley) sitting in their living room discussing Kate’s old friend Anna. It transpires that Deeley has never heard about Anna before (during 20 years of marriage) and that Anna and Kate use to share a room together. Anna was Kate’s only friend. Whilst Anna had many. Scene 2 – Anna arrives – talking constantly about their time together. Kate says very little and frequently looks a uncomfortable. Occasionally amused. Anna’s body language is sexually provocative. Scene 3, Kate goes for a bath. Deeley “confesses” to Anna that he has met her before – during their London youth. Anna denies this. The final scene – Kate returns and Anna and Deeley vie for her attention. Kate doesn’t say much, but eventually does say “I remember you dead” – proceeding to describe how she remembers Anna dead. Then tells the story of Deeley coming back to her room – asking about Anna’s (now empty) bed. Kate tells him to lie down and proceeds to smoother him with mud from the flower pots on the balcony. Deeley responds with a marriage proposal.
What did I think?
I enjoyed the first three scenes. The humour was subtle, but made you chuckle. The characters and the story behind them intriguing. I sat, waiting for more and for the “resolution of the story”. Where was this play going. What was the grand finale?
When the grand finale came. I was left a little confused. Did the play really just end? Surely not.
This is the sort of play, that you DO benefit from, if you are little bit informed. Do read up on it first and you may get more out of it.
Search the internet a little and you quickly find different theories about what the play is meant to mean – from the murdering Kate, to Kate with mental health issues. Is Anna real? Did Kate murder her? Or is Anna a part of Kate an a figment of her imagination. What was Deeley’s role? Did Kate and Deeley really get married? Or was Deeley in love with Anna and not Kate?
Knowing these things, lets you view and experience the play in a completely different light.
Check out this video from 1970s for a feel for the play
Would my husband have enjoyed it? No. I don’t think so. The man in front of me kept falling asleep (I wish he had stayed asleep, I would have been able to see better).
Likeability of characters – 8/ 10 (both Kate and Anna were quite fascinating. Deeley I found distracting)
General story line – 7/10 (if you are an intellectual you are likely to give this a 10, I am not, it confused me, though I still found it compelling)
The Ending – 7/10 (not clever enough to understand it)
Overall - if you are “into” serious intellectual plays, that stretch your theatre going experience, then you will like this play. The cast is great and it is well acted. If you like something more light hearted, or more “entertaining”, save your pennies.