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Old Times at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Three stars

March 16, 2013

We booked this because I was keen to see Kristin Scott Thomas and hubby is a Pinter fan. I don’t think I am academic enough. The play is a three hander and in this version, the two women alternate roles and Rufus Sewell maintains his part as the husband.
I’m not stupid, but I couldn’t really work out what it was meant to be saying to me. I like theatre to be challenging, surprising and make me question my assumptions, but this was a step too far for me. Luckily hubby interpreted it in a way that now makes sense, but wish I’d known before watching it. SPOILER ALERT: The two women are different elements of the same woman; one the London party girl pulling men by flashing her underwear and looking stunning and the other silent, brooding and enigmatic. The 80 minutes is spent remembering the old times, or their various versions of the old times – with the husband trying to assert his dominance over the times with his wife, and the ‘visitor’ (his wife’s old self) trying to reignite the joie de vivre in his wife. The wife lets the other two stake their claims to her past whilst she looks on, interjecting occasionally, but mostly raising eyebrows or exchanging knowing glances with her husband.
The acting is great by all three. Kristin Scott Thomas as the wife has few lines after the first ten minutes, but tons of stage presence and an enormous amount of unspoken acting. But I wish I’d seen her playing the chattering, vivacious version of herself. Perhaps it is all a ploy to get us to see it twice…. I think I might understand it second time around! Three stars.
We then crossed the road and popped in to Assagetti – a chain-like Italian. Don’t bother. The olives were rubbery and tasteless. The service haphazard. Bruschetta obviously only just out of the fridge and the main course overwhelmingly creamy and bland. Hubby said it was my own fault for ordering vegetarian lasagne. But his mushroom risotto was no better – it appeared to have had one mushrom waved at it and dropped in as an afterthought. I was staring longingly at Byron’s across the road which son raves about and I haven’t yet tried. Assagetti just scraped two stars.
Then home by cab to catch the end of Red Nose Day. I like Jack Whitehall, but Jonathon Ross? Purlease…. He’s as bad as Bruce Forsyth at reading the autocue. Desperately unfunny. But David Tenant’s direct appeal to home got me donating whilst Brenda Blethyn had me sobbing in to my rum.

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2 Responses to “Old Times at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Three stars”

  1. Natalie Smith Says:

    Thanks so much Sarah for explaining old times. I too went to see it with a friend (both of us being fans of Kristin Scott Thomas).Following the play we both spent ages trying to fathom it out -we even bought a program in the hope it would throw some light! Clever hubby…


    • I’m glad it’s not just me!! There are other theories apparently – that in fact they re both ghosts of his past and it is his memories that are being played out. That kind of stuff. But it was too clever by half for me!


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