31 December 2008

No Man's Land by Harold Pinter

Hirst - Michael Gambon
Spooner - David Bradley
David Walliams - Foster
Nick Dunning - Briggs

Directed by Rupert Goold
Designed by Giles Cadle

Seen in one of the Duke of York's wonderful house seats by some gift of great fortune on a Rescard Standby.
Didn't spot anyone in the audience but sat next to a charming young man and made a fool of myself with a poorly judged joke about Paris and Washington DC. He was very accepting and polite though.

I had gone to some effort to see this, the details of which I shall save you from suffering. If I had gone ahead to book a regular, advance seat it would have been at the expense of a couple of other trips to the theatre or a vital meal so I made a pact with myself that it had to be a cheaper or reduced ticket. After all, I had seen this 15 years ago with Mr Pinter and Mr Hodge in the cast and I'm not yet ready to accept Mr Walliams in a role of this magnitude. In short, I really had set myself up for disappointment but without seeing, how could I judge?

If there is a calculation to be made which would match something as base as cash paid against moments of bliss, this would have shot right off the scale within the first 10 minutes. I'm afraid my first laugh was at hearing the adorable Mr Bradley's total lack of native accent which always makes me smile as I hear it ringing in my ears. Here he uses an exaggerated RP/BBC, similar to Mr Gambon's which seems to only be reserved for Pinter dialect.

Such was Michael's performance that I kept picturing Harold himself as Hirst. Sadly, Mr Walliams could never match up to Douglas Hodge and I just don't find him believable as the attractive young man Foster is meant to be. He's an odd shape and has mean piggy eyes, which seems unnecessarily cruel to pigs. Douglas is in another league. He was the square peg in a perfectly rounded hole for me. Nick Dunning always steps up to the mark but the most enthralling moments were when David and Michael were on stage alone together.

As someone who struggles to enjoy New Year's Eve, these two hours will be in my top three until my memory gives out completely.