25 January 2018
Sixty years young: Harold Pinter’s signature play is still energetic and relevant
Plays can show their age as much as people. But any person who proved as energetic and relevant at 60 as Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party does on its anniversary revival would be running marathons and contemplating the start of a new career.
Premiered in 1958, when it mystified critics and thinned audiences, the piece is in some ways recognisably a young writer’s work, drawing on life and reading experiences. Pinter’s experience of seaside boarding houses as a touring actor inspired the setting: a drab beachside B&B, which, in the design by the Quay Brothers for Ian Rickson’s new staging, has warping floral wallpaper and smeared windows.
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