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NEWS: The Black British Theatre Awards reveal 2020 nominees & announce the ceremony will be broadcast on Sky Arts

In Awards, Dance, London theatre, Musicals, Native, News, Plays, Press Releases by Press Releases

The BBTAs have revealed the 2020 Black British Theatre Awards nominee list, voted almost entirely by the public and representing some of the finest work by Black performers and creatives in UK theatre. The 2020 awards ceremony will air on Sky Arts this autumn, as part of the channel’s free to air line-up.

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‘It’s hard work, as is the whole thing, but worth it for its sheer quality’: PINTER ONE – West End

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Ian FosterLeave a Comment

Beginning with a burst of confetti and ending in a sombre drop of petals, Pinter One is the far darker side of Pinter at the Pinter

“They don’t like you either, my darling”

I found myself enjoying Pinter Two much more than expected and so momentarily forgetting that I’d sworn off the whole thing, I rashly decided to book in for Pinter One, which proves to be an entirely different kind of affair. Not just thematically – it’s an overtly political collection of works and thus considerably darker – but structurally, gathering together no less than nine short pieces, eight of which run together to make the first half.

They’re Press Conference / Precisely / The New World Order / Mountain Language / American Football / The Pres and an Officer / Death / and One for the Road (all directed by Jamie Lloyd) with Ashes to Ashes (directed by the Lia Williams) following after the interval. And so ultimately it feels a bit more like a showcase of Pinter which brings with it some challenges, alongside the interest value in unearthing some lesser-seen works, including a world premiere.

That premiere – The Pres And An Officer – manages the not-unimpressive feat of fully justifying its Trump-a-like as Pinter’s prescience in nailing the vicissitudes of a numbnuts US president is uncanny. Played by a roll-call of guest stars (I saw Jon Culshaw), its a welcome burst of comedy in an otherwise dark affair and you have to laugh, because otherwise you’d cry.

Elsewhere Paapa Essiedu and Sir Antony Sher are grippingly intense in the exquisite torture of One For The Road, and Kate O’Flynn and Maggie Steed are pointedly excellent as a pair of bull-shitting men. And what you get here that you don’t in Pinter 2 is a real sense of how imaginatively flexible Soutra Gilmour’s revolving cube design is as it reconfigures at every available opportunity.

Post-interval, O’Flynn and Essiedu tackle 1996’s Ashes to Ashes, a more typically cryptic work where a couple are talking and yet their meaning is slippery and vague and disturbing and unmissable. Both actors deliver their ‘conversation’ with the utmost conviction, its impossible to drag your eyes from them even as we get darker and more violent and stranger. It’s hard work, as is the whole thing, but worth it for its sheer quality.

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Marc Brenner
Pinter One is booking in rep with Pinter Two – The Lover/The Collection at the Harold Pinter Theatre until 20th October
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NEWS: Further casting for Pinter at the Pinter includes Keith Allen, Rupert Graves, Gary Kemp, John Simm & Maggie Steed

In London theatre, Native, News, Plays, Press Releases by Press ReleasesLeave a Comment

Keith Allen, Phil Davis, Paapa Essiedu, Rupert Graves, Gary Kemp, John Simm and Maggie Steed have joined the extraordinary company of Pinter at the Pinter, the unprecedented season featuring all 20 of Harold Pinter’s one-act plays, running from September 2018 to February 2019, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Nobel Prize winner’s death.