Plays with that Pinter appeal

The Dumb Waiter and The Lover, two plays by Harold Pinter, Mere Players, Roydon Village Hall, May 10.TWO “hit men” wait in a basement for instructions about their next job and a husband and wife spice up their marriages with some love on the side.

David Green

The Dumb Waiter and The Lover, two plays by Harold Pinter, Mere Players, Roydon Village Hall, May 10.

TWO “hit men” wait in a basement for instructions about their next job and a husband and wife spice up their marriages with some love on the side.

These two plays by the Nobel Prize winning author offer a severe challenge for any company, particularly amateurs, but Mere Players emerged with some credit.


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Both pairs of actors - Steve Humfress and Sam Ward and Laura Green and Pete Webb - worked very well together. The pace in both pieces was excellent and timing was good.

I felt there was not enough tension and “edge” in The Dumb Waiter in which, despite the obvious comedy, there is a volatile relationship between two very different characters.

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The Lover depends, like many Pinter plays, on potentially comedic lines being delivered straight and this would certainly have benefited the early part of the play when the groundwork for the later surprise - when the husband returns as the wife's lover - was mishandled. I also thought there could have been a more imaginative scene when the two “lovers” share a drum.

Many amateur groups have abandoned the safety net use of a prompt in performance, and this can only be good. Experienced actors who have worked hard in rehearsal can usually find a way forward, even if it means back-tracking. This is, in my opinion, always preferably to the intrusion of another voice, even with plays as difficult as Pinter's.

Even so, the production of these two plays, both directed by David Black, provided a good platform for some very talented and hard-working actors.

While many amateur groups chose what they believe are “safe” audience pleasing comedies, Mere Players showed they could take on a very different challenge and succeed in many respects.

David Green

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