The Caretaker – Gate Theatre – Review – Runs until March 21st
The play opens with an unusual couple entering a small ramshackle flat. After a brief conversation we realise that they have only just met. There was an argument in a local Cafe, but Ashton (Rea) intervened and separated Davies (Feast), a homeless man, from the proceedings. Ashton is a quiet man but well meaning, a gentle soul. He allows the homeless man to stay for the night as there is another bed in the room. After initial fear, Davies starts to relax and enjoys his new found surroundings. But the situation is further complicated by the introduction of Mick, the brother of Ashton and owner of the house in which they are now living.
This play was written by Pinter in 1960, when he was only 30 years of age. It is a slow moving piece that focuses on the relationships between the various characters. There are subtle power plays and battles between the characters, and you are never sure what direction the script will take next, as a sense of foreboding continues throughout.
Set designer Francis O’Connor has created a wonderful area for the cast to perform. The set is complete with skylight, window and rafters projecting out into the auditorium. The stage is filled with a variety of Bric-à-brac, as Ashton is something of a hoarder. He has filled the room with a variety of odds and ends, some of it to be used for his building project, as he plans to do up the house in which they now live.
At just over two and a half hours, this play could be considered quite slow as the finely drawn relationships between the characters develop and alter. This is a play that requires an impressive cast, and all three members perform admirably. Michael Feast brings great life to the part of the homeless man Davies, who exudes false wit and charm as he tries to prise the relationship between the two brothers apart for his own purposes. Marty Rea has taken on a role quite different from his usual parts. He plays a reticent and introverted man, with hints of deep troubles in his past. This is a play that deals with atmosphere and mood more than action, as much of what occurs is in the mind of the individuals on stage. It is a finely crafted production of this cerebral and complex tale.
The Caretaker By Harold Pinter
Directed by Toby Frow
Set and Costume Design by Francis O’Connnor
Lighting Design by Mark Jonathan
Sound Design by Denis Clohessy
Cast Includes (In alphabetical order)