THEATRE REVIEW: The Caretaker ★★★
Bristol Old Vic
Wednesday 27th September 2017
Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker, a three act play which first premiered in 1960, still proves to this day, with the help of Christopher Haydon’s subtle but captivating direction, to be a play that continues to resonate with audiences, and though not intentionally, could be seen as a wise choice to bring to Bristol Old Vic in the current climate that we live in through the political world.
The real heart of this production goes towards the three main actors on stage, to whom without their involvement, this production would not have continued to flood my imagination following on from leaving the venue, and that’s a real credit to the performer's abilities. Patrice Naiambana, an African artist from Sierra Leone, portrayed the role of Davies with such sensitivity and raw emotion that the process of acting seemed to vanish with his character as he engaged the audience with such ease. His style of performance allowed him to bring subtlety to his words throughout, becoming an actor to which you cannot afford to take your eyes off whilst he is on stage.
Alongside Naiambana and taking the role of brothers Mick and Aston were David Judge and Jonathan Livingstone. Though related in the sense of the production, the complete opposite ends of their characteristics allows both performers to really interact when focused on their chemistry with each other, which is very limited in its entirety. Whilst Judge gives an exceptional performance as an unsettled Mick, Livingstone equally rises to the challenge to bring us a slick, posed, but in the same moment a very unhinged portrayal of Aston.
In the interval to which I was talking to a friend who saw the same performance, she spoke how she thought they might be both autistic on different ends of the autistic spectrum, which I was happy to settle with, but as Judge later unravels to the audience in what is the end of Act Two and no doubt the most powerful monologue throughout the whole production with such emotional impact, it’s a lot more harrowing than first expected, and this really stuck with me and took me aback, mainly due to the sheer brilliance in both Pinter’s creation of the character and Judge’s ability to hold the audience’s attention in a set so beautifully crafted by Oliver Townsend, really compelling us into a moment frozen in time!
Overall, The Caretaker is a subtle piece of theatre that should be seen by all, as I believe it will resonate more with audience’s right now in the world then it ever would have before!