The Caretaker- Throwing Shade Theatre Co.
Today, putting on a Pinter is a divisive move; you either love his work, or find it a real test of your patience. Supporting the latter, I must say: The Caretaker is long, self-indulgently so, and no sharper or snappier in the hands of this production. And yet, there’s a charm in the language and the characters that makes this (more than) forgivable.
Director Courtney Powell presents us with a meticulous and mature version of this classic play.
To my eye, not a moment has been skimmed over. It’s clear that we are seeing the product of an incredibly passionate and hardworking team.
The first to walk on stage; Alex Bryant-Smith plays a strong and provocative Mick. It’s exhilarating to watch him at work in such an intimate space, albeit intense. Bryant-Smith embodies his role to great effect.
Andrew Langcake as Ashton is another solid casting decision. His character seemingly offers this play its’ heart: Langcake’s portrayal of vulnerability, kindness and innocence is a compelling one.
The play is a three-hander with each character bringing a new perspective on the themes of loneliness and prejudice. Yet, Nicholas Papademetriou calls for a special mention. A favourite on Sydney’s Independent stages, Papademetriou is a really dynamic performer who demands his audience’s attention at every waking moment. Pinter is well-known for long pauses, an effective technique only in the hands of good actors who are able to keep the energy lifted. Papademetriou delivers here. His take on Davies is hilarious as it is hateful as it is heartbreaking.
The set design is deliberately simple to focus on the text. Designer Natalie Hughes has managed to portray the chaos and clutter that the setting calls for, without ever detracting from the action. Overall, It’s a sharp and cohesive design. Similarly, the lighting elements of the show are simplistic. Though jarring at times, it provides an effective representation of passing time.
The Caretaker is a good play of character and moral substance that is served up nicely by the Throwing Shade Theatre Company.