'SEEN AND HEARD'
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Alex Hassell and Jonathan Price. Photo: Shane Reid
THE CARETAKER – GRIPPING!
Harold Pinter’s play put him on the map of Theatre greats. Before “The Caretaker” came along his “Birthday Party”-- which did not hold up as well.
The Caretaker revolves around a disgusting, smelly man, who is basically a bum that is always looking for ways to exist. The drifter meets someone on the street. The new friend brings the drifter to a room filled with junk. He has it made. Lucky for the drifter, the mentally damaged Tenant allows Davies (the bum) to stay at his trashed up tenement room. And believe me, there is junk everywhere.
Aston begins to get fed up with the smelly tramp, and asks him to leave. They argue over an open Window. Davies wants it closed – and Aston wants it open. Aston tells Davis that he wants him to leave, because he smells. He holds the door open for the transit -- but he still won't leave.
Jonathan Pryce as The Caretaker is absolutely marvelous. It seems so real. Heck it reminds me of all “The Caretakers” that come into my favorite Starbucks. One daily occupier even looks the same as the “Caretaker” on at the Curran stage. You know what – the acting in this show is so strong, that I can actually smell the old man’s body odor.
As you know -- Pinter’s sparing dialogue is extraordinary – and it takes really great actors to pull it off.
There is a strange fascination about the entire story. There are glimpses of compassion, modesty (while the tramp undresses for bed). The modesty becomes him. There are the frightening moments, when the scary and menacing Mick appears at the dreary flat. He pretends to be helpful and friendly, but don’t kid yourself – he is devious and dangerous. Then again Mick does seem to care for his brain damaged brother (Aston.)
"The Caretaker" ends in a mystery. He’s creepy, yet engaging. One minute you are repulsed by him, and the next moment – you are busy trying to figure out who is out maneuvering whom.
The Caretaker is a psychodrama, farce and above all – “A Masterpiece!” It’s a riveting journal that will remain with you. And here’s the best part of the Evening – There is an intermission.
THE DREAM CAST: Jonathan Pryce is “Sensational.” – Alan Cox – “Exhilarating Performance!” – Strike up the Band, cause the devious troublemaker, Mick (Alex Hassell) is “Totally mesmerizing!” The Director, Christopher Morahan, is a Genius.
Now playing at the Curran Theatre
RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-
(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS-KQED)))
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