Party Time

In an unspecified location, a group of society’s elite mix and mingle discussing everything and nothing. There are drinks and canapés, chit-chat and loose lips. Beneath the surface, however, a creeping tension encroaches upon their exclusive world. There is trouble at the gates and anarchy threatens their very existence.

Pinter’s rarely performed Party Time is brought to life by the sixth form students from Magdalen College School in a valiant and gutsy production. It was always going to be tough for youngsters to perform Pinter successfully and to their credit there are some stand-out performances. Frazer Hembrow is utterly believable, as is Sophia Glatz. Both portray characters the audience can relate to instantly, with a depth of characterisation that has clearly been the result of a great deal of research and development on their part. Similarly, Cam Mowat’s bluff aggression is seethingly played in a very controlled performance. For the majority of the cast, however, there remained the problem of young actors playing older, more worldly characters in a complex social context. As a result, you were left with the sense that they were trying to keep their heads above water in a text that was simply beyond their experience.

This production is well staged, with scene changes demarcated by an ingenious use of 50s music. As the show progressed - and the tension grew - these changeovers became more frenetic and chaotic as the very social fabric of the party began to come apart at the seams. This descent into disorder and disarray culminated in the entrance of Jimmy, played with absolute commitment by Conrad Palejowski, bringing the production to an intense end. This intensity and abruptness brought with it its own problems, however. Pinter’s text is a complicated one and this production did not make any noticeable allowances for audience members unfamiliar with the work. At its conclusion, there was a palpable sense among some of the audience that they had been left simply baffled by what they had seen. Extensive notes from the director could be found in the programme but, in order for the uninitiated to make sense of the drama unfolding before them, they should have been read before the production itself took place. This is where the staging sadly ran the risk of ignoring its audience. This play ‘examines bourgeois complicity in governmental barbarity’, but this would be far from obvious to the casual viewer from MCS’s production. A difficult script, perhaps best-suited to more experienced actors, this remains one for the Pinter purists.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

A wealthy elite gather to drink and gossip. But outside, roadblocks and soldiers abound – and what's happened to Jimmy? Comic and chilling, Harold Pinter’s political satire is a stark exposé of class, power and social injustice.

Most Popular See More

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets