Reflection: The Caretaker at Bristol Old Vic

Original review: TheReviewsHub

The Caretaker

‘A moment frozen in time’ thawed: funny, heartfelt, and human

Harold Pinter’s inspiration for his tragicomic play The Caretaker was seeing two men in the same room, acting separately and in isolation, ‘a moment frozen in time’. Director Christopher Haydon and designer Oliver Townsend’s set for Bristol Old Vic and Royal & Derngate, Northampton’s production, on display as the audience take their seats, certainly feels like a moment frozen in time: suspended in the space are stepladders, drawers, desks, trolleys, toilet seats, light-bulbs, buckets, a door, and two windows with rain dripping down; a scene that feels like it should be in motion, but that is inexplicably still, as if someone has pressed pause.

Once we press play, Pinter’s three very distinct characters occupy the space in distinctively separate ways. Patrice Naiambana’s nomadic Davies ambles and shambles and mumbles and grumbles until, in his overcoat and odd socks, he seems more at home amongst the haphazard furniture than the family who inhabit the muddled room that houses it. The first family member we meet is Mick, the proprietor, expressionless, and prostrate on a mattress at the opening. Once he’s in motion, though, he is, as he later says to Davies, ‘moving all the time’: Continue reading “Reflection: The Caretaker at Bristol Old Vic”