Celebration

Harold Pinter's final play, Celebration, is widely regarded as one of his funniest and most accessible works. However, the slow pace coupled with odd pieces of shaky acting took the sting out of the script and didn't leave me in a mood to celebrate.The play has us following two tables at a posh London restaurant. On one there is a party of four celebrating an anniversary, on the other is a couple out to dinner. For the most part fun and playful, the script still has scope for some dark moments and is admittedly a difficult one to pull off in style.My main criticism of this production is that it is just too slow. This is not a play which throws itself into the classical Pinter pauses and suffocating dialogue, being much more lighthearted and slick than many of his earlier works. However the direction forces long gaps of babbling restaurant noise as we switch between tables which serve not only to sap the show of pace but also becomes tediously repetitive. The production also suffers from some slightly wooden performances and over-egging of reactions.That's not to say it is a production without merit. Frazer Hembrow gave a very complete performance as Lambert and Tom Gidman was suitably dreamy as the restaurateur. There is obviously talent in this cast and crew but it is too unfocused to be properly realised.This is a flawed production of a difficult play. There are enjoyable moments and some promising acting but it is hard to look beyond the exhaustingly slow pace which takes all the verve out of the fragile characters.

Reviews by Philip Liebman

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The Blurb

Two mafia bosses and their bitchy trophy wives toast a wedding anniversary. Nearby, a young couple taunt each other with past infidelities. Harold Pinter's final play is a dark, dirty chuckle, a viciously funny expose of wealth, class, marriage.

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