A Celebration of Harold Pinter (3 stars)

This article is from 2011

A Celebration of Harold Pinter

Pinter wonderland manages not to sink beneath the hype

The danger that accompanies any theatre event accompanied by movie star hype is that the piece itself becomes lost under the brouhaha surrounding its presenters. With John Malkovich directing Julian Sands for this piece, that was always the danger, but given the low-key nature of the project, there was bound to be a certain sinkage beneath the weight of the stars.

Still, an appropriately healthy crowd was attracted to this retrospective of the poetry of the late, great pause-meister. Sands engages in a few anecdotes about his own experience of Pinter, whom he seems to have found alternately fascinating and intimidating, goes on to explain Pinter’s own take on the subtle variations and meanings of his celebrated silences and throughout reads many extracts from Pinter’s much underrated poetry. It seems surprising, though, that early poetry about love, cricket and the human condition is favoured over the poetry of political anger that Pinter increasingly favoured in the second, post-election-of-Thatcher half of his career. This latter period is given rather short shrift, but the piece as a whole does fairly well what it claims to do.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 21 Aug, 3pm, £12.50–£15 (£11.50–£14).

Julian Sands in a Celebration of Harold Pinter

  • 3 stars

With personal anecdotes and reflections drawn from their work together, Julian Sands combines Pinter's poems and political prose to create a very fresh and intimate insight into the Nobel laureate's literary legacy. ‘Julian Sands does wonders for Harold Pinter’s poetry by reading them as if they were plays, the result is…