Thursday 14 December 2023

The Homecoming - Review

Young Vic Theatre, London


Written by Harold Pinter
Directed by Matthew Dunster

Jared Harris

Matthew Dunster’s revival of The Homecoming is one of the most entertaining interpretations of Pinter to have graced a London stage in years.  In this definitively dysfunctional family, a cracking cast offer up a monstrous quintet of generation-spanning brothers and the one woman who is wife/in-law/niece to them all.

Harold Pinter’s dialogue is genius. Written in 1964, he captures the essence of London banter. Listen closely to hear how Pinter influenced the likes of Galton and Simpson’s Steptoe and Son, Leon Griffiths’ Arthur Daley and Barrie Keefe’s Harold Shand. His are the words and style of Hackney and of Soho, refracted through this family’s amoral prism.

The elder generation is neatly portrayed by the Arthur Lowe-esque Nicholas Tennant as chauffeur Sam, with his brother Max (Jared Harris) a retired butcher and the father of the three younger brothers, attempting to play the patriarch of the household.

Among the next generation Joe Cole is pimp Lenny, David Angland is the brain-dulled boxer Joey, as Robert Emms plays Teddy, the PhD of this fraternal trio who has flown home from America with wife Ruth (Lisa Diveney)

All six are magnificent, shifting us from laughter to gasps of horror as the men attempt to impose their macabre misogyny upon Ruth - who in turn proves to be an equally devious foil to their vile intentions. 

Throughout the evening, Sally Ferguson’s lighting plots enhance the drama on Moi Tran’s simply suggested set.

The Homecoming is a finely crafted glimpse into a household of grotesques, making an evening of fabulous theatre. 

Runs until 27th January 2024
Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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