Review: Harold Pinter shorts at Trafalgar studios, with Andrew Scott and Joanna Lumley

Pinter shorts reviewOne of the interesting aspects of the Jamie Lloyd season at the Trafalgar studios is the additional events running alongside each production: for Macbeth, one-off readings of Scottish plays were performed. With The Hothouse, there is a series of talks and the performance of two Harold Pinter radio plays in front of an audience. When actors such as Andrew Scott, Joanna Lumley and Alun Armstrong are involved, it’s not hard to imagine keen interest. Indeed, there was a full house on Saturday afternoon for the last of three performances of two Pinter shorts, Family Voices and Victoria Station.

I make no secret that I love readings. Some times readings will free performers in ways a production can’t. At Trafalgar studios, in a large and sprawling auditorium, the performance consisted of nothing more than the actors in front of the microphone and a sound technician in a console at Roote’s desk. (We joked beforehand how versatile that desk is). Pinter’s language, with no production to back it up, or rather get in the way, shone for its poetry, double-edged humour, clarity and the sheer delight of the perfect combination of words in any one sentence. Continue reading