On this holiday edition, the London theatre bloggers discuss the musical wonder.land, the Jamie Lloyd company’s revival of Pinter’s The Homecoming and two Shakespeares: As You Like It at the National and Macbeth at the Young Vic.
It’s fair to say that Pinter is not for the faint hearted of theatre goers. The complexity, controversial and sometimes baffling storylines dealing with sexism, antiquated values, male chauvinism and anger does not make for a necessarily enjoyable evening. An awkward reminder of bygone days is an unusual choice to celebrate its 50th anniversary. However what makes this production is the artistic direction of Jamie Lloyd and a cast of brilliant actors each at the height of their profession.
A true theatre masterpiece can survive any directorial mugging. By this definition, Harold Pinter’s 1965 play, The Homecoming, is a robust work of genius. It has to be because, from the very start of this starry 50th anniversary revival, director Jamie Lloyd seems determined to turn it into a lurid mix of cartoon and nostalgia-fest. As the evening begins, the drama’s grubby setting, given a retro look by designer Soutra Gilmour with the addition of a couple of sticks of period furniture, is bathed in bright red light while pounding drums and throbbing bass evoke something like the Swinging Sixties.