Pinter at the Pinter: One year on...
Updated: May 27
Almost a year after the Jamie Lloyd Company's Pinter at the Pinter season concluded with Betrayal at the Harold Pinter Theatre, we look back with a special illustration.
In 2018 the Jamie Lloyd company announced a season of short works by acclaimed British playwright Harold Pinter to commemorate the tenth anniversary of his death in 2008. Playing at the West-End theatre bearing his name, what followed was an almost year long celebration of over 30 works by Pinter with a star studded cast of over 50, many of whom had worked closely with the playwright. Directed mainly by Jamie Lloyd alongside Lia Williams, Lyndsey Turner, Ed Stambollouian and Patrick Marber with every production ingeniously designed by Soutra Gilmour. Split over eight instalments, these productions showed the diverse genius of Pinter, delighted fans of the playwright’s work and introducing a new, younger audience to one of the most influential playwrights of modern times.
Pinter One (13th Sep - 20th Oct 2018)
The Season opened with a collection of powerful and compelling political plays. The New World Order explored how the abuse of power is legitimised in the name of freedom and democracy. In One for the Road, Antony Sher’s chilling government official interrogates a dissident and his family. In Mountain Language a collection of prisoners who’s shared language has been banned by the state try to find a voice. Lia Williams, a frequent collaborator with Pinter directed Ashes for Ashes, a richly atmospheric play which explores the effects of devastating human atrocities on a couple played by Papa Essiedu and Kate O’Flynn. Jonjo O’Neil and Maggie Steed also starred in this production.
On selected nights during this production’s run, Mark Rylance performed Pinter’s Nobel lecture Art, Truth and Politics in aid of Stop the War.
Pinter Two (13th Sep - 20 Oct 2018)
The Lover and The Collection are two plays from the 1960’s which tell tales of secrets, lies and seduction. Featuring Russell Tovey, Hayley Squires, David Suchet and John Macmillan.
Pinter Three (25th Oct - 8th Dec 2018)
Loneliness and isolation were the themes of this production. In turns Hilarious and devastatingly sad this collection of pieces were performed by Keith Allen, Tamsin Grieg, Meera Syal, Tom Edden and Lee Evans with a pre-show performance of Tess with Penelope Wilton on certain nights. In Landscape a woman is locked in a beautiful memory while her husband demands to be herd. Monologue is hilarious and tragic when delivered by Lee Evans. In A Kind Of Alaska a woman awakes from a sleep of twenty nine years and finds herself suspended between the conscious and un-concious world.
Pinter Four (1st Nov - 8th Dec 2018)
Directed by Lyndsey Turner, in Moonlight a lonely dying father’s bedroom is haunted by the past. Ed Stambollouian served a stylish Night School in which a east end criminal returns from prison to find his room taken by a mysterious woman with a secret. Both productions featured Al Weaver, Abbie Finn, Robert Glenister, Janie Dee, Bird Brennan, Jessica Barden, Isis Hainsworth, Dwane Walcott and Peter Polycarpou.
Pinter Five (13 Dec - 26th Jan 2019)
Patrick Marber directed a triple bill starting with The Room, a darkly funny and unexpectedly odd play. Victoria Station is a hilarious sketch between a cab controller and rogue cab driver while in Family Voices a fractured family struggle to communicate in their isolation. Featuring Rupert Graves, Jane Horrocks, Colin McFarlane, Emma Naomi, Luke Thallon and Nicholas Woodeson.
Pinter Six (20th Dec - 26th Jan 2019)
Party Time attacked the world of the narcissistic super rich and powerful in a time of state repression while Pinter’s final play, Celebration is a social satire on the vulgarity and ostentatious materialism of the nouveau riche. Featuring Ron Cook, Phil Davis, Celia Imrie, Gary Kemp, Katherine Kingsley, Eleanor Matsuura, Tracey-Ann Oberman, Abraham Popoola and John Simm.
Pinter Seven (31st Jan - 23rd Feb 2019)
A Slight Ache is a tragicomic play concerning a married couple’s dreams and desires which are altered with the arrival of a mysterious figure at their elegant country home. Featuring John Heffernan and Gemma Whelan. In The Dumb Waiter, two hitmen awaiting instructions of their next job search for meaning and purpose. Featuring Martin Freeman and Danny Dyer.
Betrayal (5th March - 28th June 2019)
The final instalment of the Pinter season was his 1978 one act play, Betrayal which tells the story of an affair which is told in reverse from the end of a marriage to the first illicit meeting. Featuring Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Cox and Zawe Ashton, the production was an acclaimed hit with sold out houses every night. The production eventually transferred to Broadway in August 2019.
Audiences were delighted by every evening at Pinter at the Pinter. This dedicated, inventive and in depth celebration of Pinter’s short works not only felt fresh and incredibly relevant, it had the sense of a real once in a lifetime theatrical event.
Top left to right: Pinter 1,2,3 and 4. Bottom Left to right: Pinter 4, 5, 6, 7 and Betrayal.