The Caretaker

Written by Harold Pinter
Directed by Christopher Morahan
Liverpool Everyman Theatre (2nd-31st October 2009)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Acclaimed film and stage actor Jonathan Pryce marked his return to the Liverpool Everyman Theatre - where he began his acting career and was also artistic director there for a time - with a spellbinding performance in Harold Pinter's acclaimed play The Caretaker.

It was this play that launched the Everyman in 1964. Pryce takes the part of Davis, the aged manipulative and enigmatic vagrant, who is invited to stay in the house of the mentally scarred Aston and his spiv-like brother Mick. Incidentally, Pryce played the part of Mick in 1980.

The dialogue and interplay between the three characters - all of them dreamers and first rate losers, full of futile illusions about themselves - is captivating. It is Pinter dissecting human nature to the raw bone. He is unforgiving in challenging mankind's falsehood of itself.

Tom Brooke (playing Mick) and Peter McDonald (in the role of Aston) are no mere vehicles for Pryce to weave his acting prowess around. They are substantial characters in their own right, and McDonald in particular gives a chilling performance as the almost comatose loner.

Although solely acted within a grubby room, filled full of tacky objects, The Caretaker is open to many interpretations - perhaps because the human aspects of these three characters are indelibly etched within each of us.

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