Review: Rouge'z Theatre Company - The Homecoming @ Chapter
It's April since I've last been at our Chapter. So on this blisteringly hot summer's night, some Harold Pinter would suffice.
Rouge'z Theatre Company have picked quite an odd and twisted work. When you watch a play by Pinter, you never really care for the characters, instead you marvel at their nastiness, get lost in the word play and pity them for just how insipid they can be.
The writing is usually dynamite, with repeated phrases and questions, as if to scorn the person first asking. Pinter's own type of Theatre of Cruelty is enough to turn away some audience members, whilst other are totally hooked. This work premiered at our own New Theatre back in 1965 and still contains some shock value.
Without giving away too much of the story, the playbill states that 'After six years living as a Professor of Philosophy in America, Teddy returns to his North London family home with Ruth his wife and mother to his three children. She meets for the first time his widower father Max, his uncle Sam and his two younger brothers Lenny and Joey.' But things sure do spiral out of control as Ruth's 'position' as a wife and mother are tested, leaving the audience thinking what the devil is she up to and who is she exactly?
The ensemble delivered an array of moods, atmosphere and tenseness: Jeff Fifer as the no-nonsense dad, keeping his sons in line after their mother dying. Andreas Constaninou as Lenny, played with much energy, matter of fact charm and acute wickedness. Ray Thomas, being like Brian Murphy from George & Mildred was feeble and pathetic in the uncle role, being the best driver in his firm, but not being a very strong personality.
Darren Freebury-Jones (who I studied theatre with in college) was a brawn yet dippy Joey. His accent sounding authentic, if a little forced at times. As for Richard Jones as Teddy, I hope the character was supposed to be that wooden and anal, as I wouldn't want to say it was a poor performance (I don't get off saying this like that). Finally Nerys Rees played Ruth with viperish yet vacant waves of expression. Her talking of America as "too many insects... too many insects" sum up the perfect delivery of a Pinter line.
This casually disturbing and at times frustrating piece of theatre still holds the family as a very important unit, even if it's as warped as these lot.
More Pinter please!
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Photo Credit: Chapter Arts Centre