Presented by Mystique Productions & Tony Knight – Acting
Reviewed 6 April 2016
Harold Pinter’s play Old Times is a visceral work of dark tension that erupts in an indescribable truth. The Nobel Prize winning playwright vaguely defines it with, ‘what goes on in my plays is realistic, but what I’m doing is not realism’, and soon enough the audience is lured into this allusion.
As one of the most influential British dramatists of the 20th Century after directing nearly 50 productions and receiving as many awards, Pinter still remains relevant in Adelaide’s Space Theatre over thirty years after the play’s conception.
It’s a challenging art, with Pinter’s iconic dark wit, intriguing minimalism and social commentary in a narrative driven by heavy dialogue with deceiving and disjointed subtext.
The drama unfolds as an old friend Anna, visits Kate and her husband Deeley in their country home; a vastly different world from the London of their past. As the women reminisce, the entangled desires and tensions between all three personas are unearthed, spiralling slowly into an absurd and surreal battle of identity.
Old Times has been riding a period of revival in recent years, after a 2013 production in London and on Broadway last October, until now it hits our own stage. Embedded with conflicting versions of truth in each characters’ memorable ‘old times’, apparent realities are challenged and disintegrated until the final, surreal climax.
Under Tony Knight’s direction, the intensely subtle and nuanced script is evolved into a melodramatic bravado, privileging humour and physicality to entice the audience. As the Head of NIDA’s Acting Program for 20 years, Tony Knight’s expertise illuminates the acting as Rachael Wegener and Charlotte Rose deliver bold emotion and flair, while Marc Clement’s performance is a physical pageantry.
Amid the heavy psychoanalytical interpretations that are evoked in Pinter’s text, Knight’s highly original production glows with fresh humour and brooding sexual menace.
Reviewed by Hannah Lally
Venue: Space Theatre
Season: 6 – 9 April
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: Under 30: $39.00 – Adult $69.00