REVIEW: Harold Pinter’s ‘The Room’ (JustTalk Theatre Company)

I had the great pleasure of be invited to attend and review a performance of JustTalk Theatre Company‘s production of The Room (one of Harold Pinter’s earlier works) at Joshua Brooks in Manchester, and raising funds for The Alzheimer’s Society.

I will admit to never having heard of this play before and I was very intrigued to up my game a little in this regard. I did leave the performance feeling incredibly confused, though I was relieved at the end to discover that even the production team and cast felt the same!!

IMG_2197-3The beauty of this, I now know, is that it is so much open to interpretation and different stagings. It’s a play that you can have a lot of freedom with and in the Q&A afterwards, we learnt that characters were able to have back-stories created for them quite liberally and that once they were able to see that they could approach this from an Alzheimer’s perspective everything else “clicked” (I’ve also read online some productions linking it with the idea of death – showing how versatile this material is).

In truth this does make it a little harder to “review” as everyone will take a different message from it.

What I can review, however, was the fantastic cast including Lucy Ross-Elliot who shows great stamina in the lead role as Rose (and who doesn’t get a second off stage, bless her!), Nick Pearse as Mr Kidd and (perhaps strangely) my favourite character Bert Hudd, played by Ethan Martin.

Produced by Catt Belcher and directed by Kezi12055273_10153600897275040_874599838_o-1 Gardom, I found the staging and environment to be very appropriate – the audience surrounding Rose in the darkness outside as if we were watching her – which could link to the idea of paranoia too.

Last night, I did wonder why the stage wasn’t used and the production was in the round but thinking about what I’ve written above (which could, of course, be absolute rubbish – I admit!) but other than that, it was hard to watch, but in all the right ways – nothing jarred and there was a great turnout for what I now understand is one of Pinter’s greatest “debate plays”.

About Gari

Northern lad; living out in the Peak District and rediscovering life after having had a brain tumour.

3 Responses

  1. Harry

    It’s not a “debate play”, he never wrote anything in the spirit of debate. Think of THE ROOM as a poem, deliberately funny, strange and unresolved, like so much of life. He was fascinated by the invasion of territory, someone’s security threatened by the presence of an uninvited stranger. If you want to understand more about Harold Pinter read Michael Billington’s biography, or watch Cannel 4’s documentary WORKING WITH PINTER available on Amazon. HB


      1. Harry

        You misunderstand, i fear, my purpose, which is only to offer the very general steer that Harold Pinter didn’t write ‘debate plays’. Plays that are debatable in their actual meaning, perhaps! But as a playwright he wasn’t interested in debate for its own sake. He was interested in letting his characters lead him (and therefore the audience) into the unknown. And, before anything else, he was a poet. It helps to know that. But of course anyone’s interpretation is valid with Pinter, as long as it doesn’t distort what’s actually there. He never intended to confuse. Only to withhold what was inessential. I never intended to preach in writing this here. Just to inform.


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