'The Homecoming' by Harold Pinter
Directed by: David Hemsley-Brown
Design by: David Hemsley-Brown
Lighting and Sound by: Alex Lyon
Cast: Paul Halliwell, Eddie King, Polly King, Nick Lund, Richard Parish and Derek Watts
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"This is one of Pinter's greatest plays. It is about men who were born into an oppressively claustrophobic family culture but who are both motherless and fatherless." (The Sunday Times)
"Pinter's play operates on any number of levels; as realistic drama, family comedy and mythical study of female empowerment." (The Guardian)
After nine years as professor of philosophy in America, eldest son Teddy returns to his North London family home with his wife Ruth. As his foul-mouthed father and low-life brothers battle to impress her, Ruth appears to find herself strangely at home and Teddy's grip on her loosens. Familial rivalry explodes into a violent assault on moral and sexual order in Pinter's funniest and darkest play.
'Sardines' Magazine REVIEW OF 'THE HOMECOMING' by NIGEL DAMS
I didn't like the play, let's get that out of the way first. It was a story of horrible people doing and saying horrible things with no slightest sign of anything like conscience or remorse. I wasn't sure what the celebrated Mr. Pinter was trying to say, except that people can be horrible. With that said, it's testimony to the strength of the performers that I was riveted throughout. As usual with Lighted Fools, the first glimpse of the set showed evidence of the love and attention to detail that promises satisfying theatre, and as usual, they didn't disappoint. From the very first line, the central figure, the odious Max, played by Richard Parish impressed one relentlessly with a picture of someone utterly self-absorbed, cruel and capricious. With his lower lip sticking out over his nasty string vest in later scenes, he seemed to be challenging the entire world to what would be a very dirty fight. One got the unshakeable impression that he had molested his sons, all of whom seem afraid of him, even the self-assured Lenny, played by Nick Lund, who we think is a pretty experienced wide-boy, street-smart and tough. Probably not as tough as Joey, the wannabe boxer, though. Eddie King did a great job with a dominating physical presence coupled with the childlike body language of the intellectually challenged. Completing the initial foursome is the utterly unmenacing, almost feminised character of Sam, the uncle played with great style and subtlety by Derek Watts. Between them they did a perfect job of preparing us for the explosive arrival of the 'homecomers'. I said 'explosive' but Polly King's first appearance silhouetted in the doorway had a great physical stillness, and her first words in a gentle, quiet voice portrayed someone flattened by life. This made her slow but unstoppable rise to complete dominance all the more effective. Every move of hers was completed with the grace of a ballerina, and somewhat stole the rest of the show. But one still watched with horrified fascination as her poor husband (the excellent Paul Halliwell) was subjected to the kind of psychological torture I meant to imply when I said it was a horrible story. You would have needed to be in the audience to get the full force of it, and if you weren't, take my word for it - these were the kind of performances that make for that very best of theatrical experiences - the kind that are the first thing you think about on waking the next morning. The cast were so powerful that I'm afraid they rather overpowered the sound and lighting, but they do say that if you didn't notice those things, then they did their job properly. The whole crew deserve every congratulation for making a first-class job of a difficult and challenging piece. I think Lighted Fools deserves to be a company whose shows you go to see just because it's them.
What an outstanding production!
Both black and morally dubious. We liked it!
What a wonderful performance last evening.
We thought everyone gave truly professional performances.
WOW - what a tour de force!
You were all absolutely brilliant.
It was so well directed and played by all the cast.
What a repulsive character Max was. The mouth was a touch of brilliance then the expressive hands on the arms of the chair - there were so many things which made it a brilliant characterisation that I don't know what else I can say.
Set was up to usual high standard.
I felt the smoking was integral to the piece and that the wafting drew me into the room.
Very well cast; believable characters.
Some great facial expressions from everyone.
God, the old man was ‘orrible!
I had great sympathy for the sons.
What a fabulous evening!
Interesting combination of nasty yet vulnerable from Lenny.
Play needed the normality of Sam although his normality itself was bizarre - the whole thing was!
Ruth was an intriguing character.
It was truly a wonderful production, most enjoyable with a great set to boot and evocative music.
I reckon when Pinter wrote this play he woke up one morning and just wrote down his dream from the night before!
I could go on and on about this play - loved it!
I have to admit that I didn’t particularly like the actual play but at the same time I’m glad I’ve seen it although I wouldn’t necessarily put myself out in order to see it again!
We thought everyone gave truly professional performances.
Max succeeded in portraying from the beginning to end that he wasn’t a very nice old man.
Enjoyed tonight - well done all!
I’m sure you will know what I mean when I say that it is without doubt an actor’s play.
The cast were, as always, excellent.
You excelled yourselves yet again!
What a horrid old man Max was.
We both very much enjoyed the evening and it certainly gave us a great deal to think about.
The play was a very good choice for the company as each actor was utterly believable in their role.
Thank you for both an entertaining and an intellectually stimulating evening.
I’m so glad that I don’t count Max as being a friend of mine!
We found the play really interesting and superbly presented: we were still discussing it the following day, and the great performances will live long in the memory.
What a gruesome play. I think it was probably more gruesome because everyone was so good and believable that we were completely involved.
Not nice people but very believable.
The end did leave us all with a lump in our throats.
Already diaried the next production!
Thoroughly enjoyed the play and outstanding performances. So looking forward to the next production 'Morecambe'
Another quality evening spent with Lighted Fools - looking forward to the next.